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04 Lianga Lumber Co. v. Lianga Timber Co.

GR. No. L-38685 (1977)


J. Antonio / Tita K
Subject Matter: Rule 44
Case Summary:
Petitioner owns a timber concession in Agusan while respondent owns a timber concession in Surigao. Both Concessions were
divided by the interprovincial boundary line. Petitioner filed a complaint against respondent because respondent allegedly
conducted logging activities in petitioner’s concession and that respondent stationed armed men preventing petitioner’s laborers
from entering the subject area. RTC declared contested area or the place invaded by the private respondent as part of the timber
concession of the petitioners and awarded damages in favor of the petitioners. When appealed to the CA, CA initially affirmed RTC
decision. However, upon several motions, CA has swayed from one side to the other, finally ending in an order for the remand of the
case to the trial court for a rehearing. The remand was with instruction for a resurvey of the disputed area; the Agusan-Surigao
boundary as provided for by law; and the area covered by the respective licenses of the parties be conducted by the District
Foresters of Surigao and Agusan.

WON remand of the trial court is necessary, the SC ruled in the negative. One of the reasons was because respondent is now
claiming that it has been its theory even before the trial court that the boundary between the two concessions is not the political
boundary between the provinces of Agusan and Surigao but the forestry boundary indicated in the control map of the Bureau of
Forestry, which may not actually coincide with the political boundary mentioned by law. (In effect, a resurvey of the boundary
provided by law is no longer necessary). This claim is actually attempting to change the issue in the appeal.

WON respondent can change the issue in the appeal, which would be different from that in the lower court i.e “WON the subject
area is within the Surigao province.” The SC ruled in the negative.

SC held that questions which were not raised in the lower court cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. In order that the
question may be raised on appeal, it is essential that it be within the issue made by the parties in their pleadings. Consequently,
when a party deliberately adopts a certain theory and the case is tried and decided upon that theory in the lower court, he will not
be permitted to change his theory on appeal because to permit him to do so will be unfair to the adverse party. Although, in the
interest of justice and within the sound discretion of the appellate court, a party may change his legal theory on appeal only when
the factual bases thereof would not require presentation of any further evidence by the adverse party in order to enable it to
properly meet the issue raised in the new theory. In this case, based on the evidence presented and based on the judgments
rendered by the lower courts, the issue raised in the court a quo is whether or not the contested area is located within the province
of Surigao. Such question could not now be changed by respondent LTC on appeal.
Doctrine/s:
As a general rule, questions not raised in the lower court cannot be raised for the first time on appeal.
A party cannot subsequently take a position contrary to, or inconsistent with, his pleadings.
When a party deliberately adopts a certain theory and the case is tried and decided upon that theory in the lower court, he will not
be permitted to change his theory on appeal because to permit him to do so will be unfair to the adverse party.
In the interest of justice and within the sound discretion of the appellate court, a party may change his legal theory on appeal only
when the factual bases thereof would not require presentation of any further evidence by the adverse party in order to enable it to
properly meet the issue raised in the new theory.
Action Before SC: “This is a special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65.”
Parties:

Petitioner LIANGA LUMBER COMPANY (LLC) and NORTH ZAMBALES LUMBER COMPANY

Respondent LIANGA TIMBER CO., INC. (LTC) and HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
Antecedent Facts:
1. Petitioner Lianga Lumber Company (LLC) is the licensee of a timber concession in Agusan.
2. Respondent Lianga Timber Co., Inc. (LTC), is the licensee of another timber concession in Lianga, Surigao.
RTC
1. Petitioners filed a complaint against the respondent alleging, among others, that:
 Petitioner LLC owns a timber concession in Agusan which is situated near Surigao-Agusan boundary.
 Respondent LTC entered into petitioner’s concession and conducted logging operations therein.
2. Respondent LTC filed an Amended Answer with Counterclaims alleging, among others, that:
 The subject area is actually within respondent LTC’s concession and is a territorial part of Surigao.
3. After trial on the merits, RTC declared contested area or the place invaded by the private respondent as part of the timber
concession of the petitioners and awarded damages in favor of the petitioners.
N.B. RTC found that the common boundary of the two parties respective concessions is the interprovincial boundary line of Agusan and Surigao. West of
this line is the forest area of the petitioner LLC, which is within the province of Agusan, while east thereof, is the area of the respondent LTC, which lies in
the province of Surigao.

CA (Warning! Nakakahilo ang mga sumunod na pangyayari! Papalit-palit ng decision and CA.)
1. Respondent LTC appealed to the Court of Appeals.
2. CA rendered a decision, penned by J. Esguerra, affirming the RTC decision en toto. (FIRST CA RESOLUTION/POSITION)
N.B. It also found that there was abundant proof to show that the boundary line between the two forest concessions is the interprovincial boundary line of
Agusan and Surigao. The timber license of petitioner LLC states that the forest concession awarded to it is in the province of Agusan, while that of the
respondent LTC indicates that its forest concession is situated in the province of Surigao.

3. Respondent LTC filed a MR which was likewise denied


4. Subsequently, with leave of court, respondent LLC filed a second MR on substantially same grounds as its first MR.
5. CA rendered a decision, also penned by J. Esguerra, reversing its prior decision. CA granted the second MR. It ruled that the
forest area in question is a part of respondent LTC’s forest concession. (SECOND CA RESOLUTION/POSITION)
6. Petitioners filed a motion for rehearing/reconsideration of CA’s second resolution on the ground that the interprovincial
line delimiting the Agusan-Surigao boundary must prevail over the technical description.
7. CA rendered a decision, this time penned by J. Enriquez, reversing the SECOND RESOLUTION, declaring that the forest area
in dispute is part of the concession of the petitioners and awarding actual damages, same as FIRST RESOLUTION. (THIRD CA
RESOLUTION/POSITION)

8. Respondent LTC filed a MR.


9. CA rendered a decision, penned by J. Gancayco, setting aside the Enriquez Resolution (THIRD Resolution) and ordering the
remand of the records of the case to the trial court for further proceedings with instruction that a resurvey of the disputed
area; the Agusan-Surigao boundary as provided for by law; and the area covered by the respective licenses of the parties be
conducted by the District Foresters of Surigao and Agusan. (FOURTH CA RESOLUTION/POSITION)
10. Petitioners filed a Motion for Rehearing/Reconsideration, praying that the Enriquez Resolution (SECOND Resolution) be
revived.
11. CA denied the said motion.
**This case is unique in the sense that the decisions/resolutions of the respondent Court of Appeals, during a period of four (4) years,
had swayed from one side to the other, finally ending in an order for the remand of the case to the trial court for a rehearing.
Issues:
1. WON there is a necessity for remanding the case to the trial court for further proceedings. (NO)
Ratio:
No – There is no necessity for the remand of the case to the trial court for further proceedings.
 It must be noted that the trial court already found as clearly established by the evidence that:
o The contested area known as is part of the Province of Agusan;
o The claim of the respondent LTC that the contested area is part of its lumber concession is not supported by the
evidence;
o The respondent LTC entered the concession of the petitioners;
o The respondent LTC posted armed men in said area and thru force, threats and intimidation, prevented the
laborers of the petitioner LLC from entering and logging therein,
 The decision of the Court of Appeals affirming en toto the appealed decision of the trial court (FIRST CA RESOLUTION), also
stated that:
o There is abundant proof to show that the common boundary lines between the two forest concessions is that
provincial boundary line of Agusan and Surigao
o The contested area is part of the province of Agusan, which is well supported by the evidence on record.
 Even private respondent agrees in its answer that to remand the case is unnecessary. There is no question that the Agusan-
Surigao provincial boundary line has already been specifically fixed and described by law. As correctly found by the Court of
Appeals in its Enriquez Resolution (THIRD Resolution), the Surigao-Agusan provincial boundary line as described in Section 1
of Act 1693 of the Philippine Commission is “the crest of the watershed between Agusan River Valley and the Pacific
Ocean.”
 To remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings, therefore, will only prolong the termination of a case that has
been pending in the courts for almost two decades, and thus subvert the very interests of justice.
RELATED TO APPEAL:
**Remember that the remand was with the instruction to resurvey the Agusan-Surigao boundary provided for by law.
Another reason why remand to lower court is no longer necessary is because respondent now claims that they do not rely
on the political boundary between the two provinces but on the boundary as fixed by the control map of the Bureau of
Forestry which should prevail over the provincial boundary line established by Act No. 1693.

(In other words, they are NOW claiming that they are not relying on the Agusan-Surigao boundary provided by law, but on
the Bureau of Forestry Map  Change in Theory!)
Respondent claims that it has been its theory even before the trial court that the boundary between the two concessions is not the
political boundary between the provinces of Agusan and Surigao but the forestry boundary indicated in the control map of the
Bureau of Forestry, which may not actually coincide with the political boundary mentioned by law.
WON respondent can change the issue in the appeal, different from that in the lower court i.e “WON the subject area is within the
Surigao province.” (NO)
 Well-settle is the rule that questions which were not raised in the lower court cannot be raised for the first time on appeal.
 In order that the question may be raised on appeal, it is essential that it be within the issue made by the parties in their
pleadings.
 Consequently, when a party deliberately adopts a certain theory and the case is tried and decided upon that theory in the
lower court, he will not be permitted to change his theory on appeal because to permit him to do so will be unfair to the
adverse party.
 Indeed, the petitioners would have no more opportunity to present further evidence, material to the new theory, which
they could have done had they been aware earlier of the new theory at the time of the hearing before the trial court, since
a reopening for that purpose would be out of the question after the appeal.
 In other words, in the interest of justice and within the sound discretion of the appellate court, a party may change his legal
theory on appeal only when the factual bases thereof would not require presentation of any further evidence by the
adverse party in order to enable it to properly meet the issue raised in the new theory.
o The principal issue litigated by the parties before the court a quo is whether or not the disputed area falls within
the province of Surigao.
o Respondent LTC never alleged in their answer that its timber concession extended to the province of Agusan, since
its forestry boundary is not necessarily delimited by the political boundary of the two provinces.
o It has always insisted in the court a quo that its timber concession was entirely located in the Province of Surigao,
while that of petitioner is situated within the Province of Agusan.
o Respondent LTC did not question the correctness RTC’s statement that says, “West of this line is the forestry
concession of the plaintiffs located in the Province of Agusan, while east thereof is the concession of the
defendants which lies within the Province of Surigao.” This theory of respondent was continued in the brief which
it filed with the Court of Appeals.
o Since the issue raised in the court a quo, on the basis of the evidence presented and upon which the court
rendered its judgment, is whether or not the contested area is located within the province of Surigao, such
question could not now be changed by respondent LTC on appeal.
Dispositive: Wherefore, the resolution-decision of the Court of Appeals of February 19, 1974 and its Resolution of May 9, 197446
denying reconsideration thereof are REVERSED, and, instead, the judgment of the trial court is hereby AFFIRMED, with the sole
modification that private respondent shall pay petitioners the sum of P32,863.62 as actual damages, instead of P47,578.75, plus
P3,000.00 as attorney’s fees, and private respondent to pay the costs.