G.R. No. 224469 (Diosdado Sama y Hinupas and Bandy Masan Aceveda v. People of the Philippines). fJ..t'f('Y J ~ / Promulgated: .-;; 'jjf January 5, 2021,: X- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - I- ------ X DISSENTING OPINION PERALTA, C.J.: The facts of the case are simple. Petitioners were charged with violation of Section 68, 1 now Section 77, of Presidential Decree No. 705 (P.D. No. 705), 2 as amended, for cutting a Dita tree within the lands of Baco, Oriental Mindoro, without the authority required therein. The Information reads: That on or about the 15 th day of March 2005, at Barangay Calangatan, Municipalit:Y of San Teodoro, Province of Oriental Mindoro, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, without any authority as required under existing forest laws and regulations and for unlawful purpose, conspiring, confederating, and mutually helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly cut with the use of an unregistered power chainsaw, a Dita tree, a forest product, with an aggregate volume of 500 board feet and with a corresponding value of TWENTY THOUSAND (Php20,000.00), Philippine Currency. CONTRARY TO LA W. 3 Petitioners were caught in jlagrante delicto by several police officers and representatives of the Department and Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) who were conducting surveillance operations against illegal loggers in the area. While they admitted that they had no permit to the logging activity, petitioners claim that they are Iraya-Mangyan indigenous peoples (IPs) and, as such, they had the right to cut the tree for the construction of a community toilet of the Mangyan community. Section 68 of P.D. No. 705 provides: SECTION 68. Cutting, Gathering and/or Collecting Timber or Other Products without License. - Any person who shall cut, gather, collect, or remove timber or other forest products from any forest land, or timber from alienable and disposable public lands, or from private lands, without any authority under a license agreement, lease, license or permit, shall be guilty of qualified theft as defined and punished under Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code; Provided, That in the case of partnership, association or corporation, the officers who ordered the cutting, gathering or collecting shall be liable, and if such officers are aliens, they shall, in addition to the penalty, be deported without further proceedings on ~ the part of the Commission on Immigration and Deportation. 2 Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines, May 19, 1975. 3 Rollo, p. 57. /

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