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Alcantara V Coslap, Denr And Paglangan

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  Alcantara v COSLAP, DENR and Paglangan 2001   Legal Research Page 1 Case Name:   Nicasio Alcantara vs Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems( COSLAP ), Department of Environment and Natural Resources ( DENR )and Rolando Paglangan as private respondent Citation: G.R. No. 145838. July 20, 2001 Procedural History:  This is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals(CA) affirming the decision of COSLAP and denying petitioner’s motion for  reconsideration. Facts:  In 1993, petitioner was granted the lease of 923 hectares of public forest land in SitioLanton, General Santos City through Forest Land Grazing Lease Agreement No. 542(FLGLA No. 542) for 25 years.Before the lease was granted, private respondent Paglangan along with Sabel Esmael andLasid Acop filed a letter of complaint with COSLAP to cancel FLGLA No. 542. Petitioner questioned COSLAP’s jurisdiction to administer and dispose of public lands. COSLAP went on with the hearing and petitioner alleged that he was not given theopportunity to be present and participate in the field investigations conducted.On August 3, 1998 COSLAP cancelled FLGLA No. 542 and petitioner appealed to CAfor certiorari. CA dismissed the petition for certiorari and subsequent motion forreconsideration.Based on the records, the land area being claimed by private respondents belongs  Alcantara v COSLAP, DENR and Paglangan 2001   Legal Research Page 2 to the B’laan indigenous cultural community since they have been in possession of, and have been occupying and cultivating the same since time immemorial, afact has not been disputed by petitioner. Issue:  1)   Whether or not CA erred in ruling that petitioner has recognized COSLAP’s  jurisdiction over the case by participating actively in the proceedings.2)   Whether or not COSLAP has jurisdiction over the case. Ratio Decidendi: 1)   Active participation of a respondent in the case pending against him before a court ora quasi-judicial body is tantamount to recognizing its jurisdiction and thereforecannot question it later after the decision.2)   COSLAP has jurisdiction to resolve land problems or disputes which are critical andexplosive in nature, for instance, between occupants and lease agreement holders.3)   It was likewise declared by the appellate court that FLGLA No. 542 granted topetitioner violated Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 410[13] which states that allunappropriated agricultural lands forming part of the public domain are declared partof the ancestral lands of the indigenous cultural groups occupying the same, and theselands are further declared alienable and disposable, to be distributed exclusivelyamong the members of the indigenous cultural group concerned. Holding: Petition is denied.