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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. HON. MAXIMO A. MACEREN
G.R. No. L-32166 October 18, 1977
This is a case involving the validity of a 1967 regulation, penalizing electro fishing in fresh water fisheries, promulgated by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) and the Commissioner of Fisheries under the old Fisheries Law and the law creating the Fisheries Commission (FC). On March 7, 1969 Jose Buenaventura, Godofredo Reyes, Benjamin Reyes, Nazario Aquino and Carlito del Rosario were charged by a Constabulary investigator in the municipal court of Sta. Cruz, Laguna with having violated Fisheries Administrative Order No. 84-1 when the five accused, in the morning of March 1, 1969, resorted to electro fishing in the waters of Barrio San Pablo Norte, Sta. Cruz using electric current, which destroy any aquatic animals within its cuffed reach, to the detriment and prejudice of the populace" (Criminal Case No. 5429).
Upon motion of the accused, the municipal court quashed the complaint. The prosecution appealed. The Court of First Instance of Laguna affirmed the order of dismissal (Civil Case No. SC-36). Hence this appeal.
Whether or not the 1967 regulation, penalizing electro fishing in fresh water fisheries, promulgated by the Secretary of ANR and the Commissioner of Fisheries is valid.
No. The court held that the Secretary of ANR and the Commissioner of Fisheries exceeded their authority in issuing Fisheries Administrative Orders Nos. 94 and 84-1since the law does not clearly prohibit electro fishing. Section 11 of the Fisheries Law prohibits "the use of any obnoxious or poisonous substance" in fishing. Section 76 of the same law punishes any person who uses an obnoxious or poisonous substance in fishing with a fine of not more than five hundred pesos nor more than five thousand, and by imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than five years. Hence, the administrative agencies are powerless to penalize it because of the lack of any legal basis. Had the law making body intended to punish electro fishing, a penal provision to that effect could have been easily embodied in the old Fisheries Law. Administrative regulations adopted under legislative authority by a particular department must be in harmony with the provisions of the law, and should be for the sole purpose of carrying into effect its general provisions. By such regulations, the law itself cannot be extended to amend or expand the statutory requirements or to embrace matters not covered by the statute.