MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court will hold oral arguments on the petition challenging the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 when it goes to its annual summer session in Baguio City on April 16.
This was the decision of the high court after its en banc session on Tuesday, the SC public information office said.
It said the high court decided to hold oral arguments on the petitions that have been filed, challenging the constitutionality of Republic Act 7942 by former Akbayan Rep. Ana Hontiveros-Baraquel and several others.
The Supreme Court public information also said Associate Justice Marvic Leonen has inhibited himself from participating in the deliberations of the Mining Act “by reason of previous association with one of the parties.”
Leonen was co-founder and former executive director of LRC Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, which is one of the petitioners against the Mining Act.
In the petition filed by Baraquel in 2008, she asked the high court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) enjoining the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from acting on any application for Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA).
She and other petitioners called RA 7942 unconstitutional for violating Article XII, Section 2, of the 1987 Constitution, which states that “all lands of public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests, timber, wildlife, flora and fauna and other natural resources are owned by the State.
They also contended that Section 80 of R.A. 7942 and Section 212 of Department Order 96-40 violated the Constitution since they provided that the government share would be excise taxes.