Administrative, Jurisdiction
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) created a task force authorized to accept and evaluate and delineate ancestral and claims within a particular area, and after due evaluation of the claims, to issue appropriate land titles. The relatives of herein petitioners and others filed separate applications for certificate of ancestral land claim for land partly overlapping some portions of the land occupied by the petitioners. Petitioners claimed that even if no certificate of ancestral land claim had yet been issued by the DENR in favour of these people, the latter tried to acquire possession of the land they applied for, including the portion occupied by petitioners. Petitioners also alleged that if not for the petitioner’s timely resistance to intrusions, the petitioners would have been totally evicted therefrom. They sought to enjoin the respondent DENR from implementing the assailed administrative issuances and from processing the application for certificate of ancestral land claim on the ground that the said administrative issuances were void for lack of legal basis. The court emphasized that the alleged application for certificate of ancestral land claim had not been granted. The DENR was still processing the application for a certificate of ancestral land claim, which it may or may not grant. The adverse legal interests involved in this case were the competing claims to possess a common portion of a piece of land. There was no justiciable controversy as there was no actual or imminent violation of the petitioners’ asserted right to possess the land. The court could not rule on the basis of petitioners’ speculation that the DENR would approve the application. There had to be an actual governmental act which imminently caused injury to the alleged right of the petitioner to possess the land before the jurisdiction of this Court could be invoked. Until such time, the petitioners were simply speculating that they might be evicted from the premises at some future time. They needed no relief in the form they now sought to obtain.