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CASE DIGEST

I.

OPOSA vs. FACTORAN

(A)
Oposa v Factoran
GR No. 101083
July 30, 1993
FACTS:
Petitioners herein are all minors duly represented and joined by their respective parents
contesting the granting of the Timber License Agreement (TLAs), which they claim was done
with grave abuse of discretion, violated their right to a balanced and healthful ecology.
ISSUES:
(1) WON the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is a substantive right
(2) WON timber licenses are contracts;
WON the cancellation of which would constitute non- impairment clause which is prohibited
under the Constitution
APPLICABLE LAWS:
Art II, Sec. 16. The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a
balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.
Art. II, Sec. 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people
and instill health consciousness among them.
E.O. No. 192, Section 4. of which expressly mandates that the Department of Environment
and Natural Resources "shall be the primary government agency responsible for the
conservation, management, development and proper use of the country' s environment
and natural resources, specifically forest and grazing lands, mineral, resources, including
those in reservation and watershed areas, and lands of the public domain, as w ell as the
licensing and regulation of all natural resources as may be provided for by law in order to
ensure equitable sharing of the benefits derived therefrom for the welfare of the present and
future generations of Filipinos.
Art. III, Sec. 10. No law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed
RULING:
(1) Yes, it is a substantive right. Right of Filipinos to a balanced and healthful ecology
which the petitioners dramatically associate with the twin concepts of "inter-generational
responsibility" and "intergenerational justice."
Needless to say, every generation has a responsibility to the next to preserve that
rhythm and harmony for the full enjoyment of a balanced and healthful ecology. Put a little
differently, the minors' assertion of their right to a sound environment constitutes, at the
same time, the performance of their obligation to ensure the protection of that right for the

generations to come. (2) Since timber licenses are not contracts, the non-impairment clause,
cannot be invoked.
(B)
Summary:
An action was filed by several minors represented by their parents against the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources to cancel existing timber license agreements in the country
and to stop issuance of new ones. It was claimed that the resultant deforestation and damage to
the environment violated their constitutional rights to a balanced and healthful ecology and to
health (Sections 16 and 15, Article II of the Constitution). The petitioners asserted that they
represented others of their generation as well as generations yet unborn.
Finding for the petitioners, the Court stated that even though the right to a balanced and
healthful ecology is under the Declaration of Principles and State Policies of the Constitution and
not under the Bill of Rights, it does not follow that it is less important than any of the rights
enumerated in the latter: [it] concerns nothing less than self-preservation and selfperpetuation, the advancement of which may even be said to predate all governments and
constitutions. The right is linked to the constitutional right to health, is fundamental,
constitutionalised, self-executing and judicially enforceable. It imposes the correlative
duty
to
refrain
from
impairing
the
environment.
The court stated that the petitioners were able to file a class suit both for others of their
generation and for succeeding generations as the minors' assertion of their right to a sound
environment constitutes, at the same time, the performance of their obligation to ensure the
protection of that right for the generations to come.
Keywords: Oposa et al. v. Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr. et al (G.R. No. 101083), Environmental,
Right
Significance of the Case:
This case has been widely-cited in jurisprudence worldwide, particularly in cases relating to
forest/timber licensing. However, the approach of the Philippino Supreme Court to economic,
social and cultural rights has proved somewhat inconsistent, with some judgments resulting in
the enforcement of such rights (e.g., Del Rosario v Bangzon, 180 SCRA 521 (1989); Manila
Prince Hotel v Government Service Insurance System, G. R. No. 122156 (3 February, 1997) but
at least one instance in which the Court made a statement that economic, social and cultural
rights are not real rights (see, Brigido Simon v Commission on Human Rights, G. R. No. 100150,
5 January 1994).
II.

CHAVEZ vs. PEA, 403 SCRA 1

CHAVEZ V. PUBLIC ESTATES AUTHORITY


384 SCRA 152
FACTS:
President Marcos through a presidential decree created PEA, which was tasked with the
development, improvement, and acquisition, lease, and sale of all kinds of lands. The then
president also transferred to PEA the foreshore and offshore lands of Manila Bay under the
Manila-Cavite Coastal
Road and Reclamation Project.
Thereafter, PEA was granted patent to the reclaimed areas of land and then, years later,
PEA entered into a JVA with AMARI for the development of the Freedom Islands. These two
entered into a joint venture in the absence of any public bidding.
Later, a privilege speech was given by Senator President Maceda denouncing the JVA
as the grandmother of all scams. An investigation was conducted and it was concluded that the
lands that PEA was conveying to AMARI were lands of the public domain; the certificates
of title over the
Freedom Islands were void; and the JVA itself was illegal. This prompted Ramos to form an
investigatory committee on the legality of the JVA.
Petitioner now comes and contends that the government stands to lose billions by the
conveyance or sale of the reclaimed areas to AMARI. He also asked for the full disclosure
of the renegotiations happening between the parties.
ISSUE:
W/N stipulations in the amended JVA for the transfer to AMARI of the lands, reclaimed or
to be reclaimed, violate the Constitution.
HELD:
The ownership of lands reclaimed from foreshore and submerged areas is rooted in the Regalian
doctrine, which holds that the State owns all lands and waters of the public domain.
The 1987 Constitution recognizes the Regalian doctrine. It declares that all natural resources
are owned by the State and except for alienable agricultural lands of the public
domain, natural resources cannot be alienated.
The Amended JVA covers a reclamation area of 750 hectares. Only 157.84 hectares of the 750
hectare reclamation project have been reclaimed, and the rest of the area are still submerged
areas forming part of Manila Bay. Further, it is provided that AMARI will reimburse the
actual costs in reclaiming the areas of land and it will shoulder the other reclamation costs to
be incurred.
The foreshore and submerged areas of Manila Bay are part of the lands of the public domain,

waters and other natural resources and consequently owned by the State. As such,
foreshore and submerged areas shall not be alienable unless they are classified as
agricultural lands of the public domain. The mere reclamation of these areas by the PEA
doesnt convert these inalienable natural resources of the State into alienable and
disposable lands of the public domain. There must be a law or presidential
proclamation officially classifying these reclaimed lands as alienable and disposable if the
law has reserved them for some public or quasi-public use.
III.

CRUZ vs. SECRETARY of ENVIRONMENT and NATURAL RESOURCES, 347 SCRA


329

Cruz vs DENR, G.R. No. 135385, December 6, 2000


Isagani Cruz v. Dept. of Energy and Natural Resources,
G.R. No. 135385, December 6, 2000
FACTS: Cruz, a noted constitutionalist, assailed the validity of the RA 8371 or the Indigenous
Peoples Rights Act on the ground that the law amount to an unlawful deprivation of the States
ownership over lands of the public domain as well as minerals and other natural resources
therein, in violation of the regalian doctrine embodied in Section 2, Article XII of the
Constitution. The IPRA law basically enumerates the rights of the indigenous peoples over
ancestral domains which may include natural resources. Cruz et al content that, by providing for
an all-encompassing definition of ancestral domains and ancestral lands which might even
include private lands found within said areas, Sections 3(a) and 3(b) of said law violate the
rights of private landowners.

ISSUE: Whether or not the IPRA law is unconstitutional.


HELD: The SC deliberated upon the matter. After deliberation they voted and reached a 7-7
vote. They deliberated again and the same result transpired. Since there was no majority vote,
Cruzs petition was dismissed and the IPRA law was sustained. Hence, ancestral domains may
include natural resources somehow against the regalian doctrine.

OTHERS

FACTS:
The petitioners, all minors duly represented and joined by their respective parents, filed a petition to cancel all
existing timber license agreements (TLAs) in the country and to cease and desist from receiving, accepting,
processing, renewing or approving new timber license agreements. This case is filed not only on the
appellants right as taxpayers, but they are also suing in behalf of succeeding generations based on the
concept of intergenerational responsibility in so far as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is
concerned.
Together with the Philippine Ecological Network, Inc. (PENI), the petitioners presented scientific evidence that
deforestation have resulted in a host of environmental tragedies. One of these is the reduction of the earths
capacity to process carbon dioxide, otherwise known as the greenhouse effect.

Continued issuance by the defendant of TLAs to cut and deforest the remaining forest stands will work great
damage and irreparable injury to the plaintiffs. Appellants have exhausted all administrative remedies with the
defendants office regarding the plea to cancel the said TLAs. The defendant, however, fails and refuses to
cancel existing TLAs.

ISSUES:
Whether or not the petitioners have legal standing on the said case
Admitting that all facts presented are true, whether or not the court can render a valid judgement in
accordance to the prayer of the complaints
Whether or not the TLAs may be revoked despite the respondents standing that these cancellation of these
TLAs are against the non-impairment clause of the Constitution
HELD:
The petitioners have locus standi (legal standing) on the case as a taxpayers (class) suit. The subject matter
of complaint is of common and general interest to all the citizens of the Philippines. The court found difficulty
in ruling that the appellants can, for themselves, and for others file a class suit.
The right of the petitioners to a balanced and healthful ecology has been clearly stated. A denial or violation of
that right by the other who has the correlative duty or obligation to respect or protect the same gives rise to a
cause of action. The granting of the TLAs, as the petitioners claim to be done with grave abuse of discretion,
violated their right to a balanced and healthful ecology hence, the full protection thereof requires that no TLAs
should be renewed or granted. The appellants have also submitted a document with the sub-header CAUSE
OF ACTION which is adequate enough to show, prima facie, the violation of their rights. On this basis, these
actions must therefore be granted, wholly or partially.
Despite the Constitutions non-impairment clause, TLAs are not contracts, rather licenses; thus, the said
clause cannot be invoked. Even if these are protected by the said clause, these can be revoked if the public
interest so required as stated in Section 20 of the Forestry Reform Code (P.D. No. 705). Furthermore, Section
16 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides that: The State shall protect the right of the people
to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. The right to a balanced
and healthful ecology carries with it the correlative duty to refrain from impairing the government. The said
right is also clear as the DENRs duty under its mandate and by virtue of its powers and functions under
Executive Order No. 192 and the Administrative Code of 1987 to protect and advance the said right.Needless
to say, all licenses may thus be revoked or rescinded. It is not a contract, property or property right protected
by the due process clause of the Constitution.
-----------------------------------------Facts:
Principal petitioners, are all minors duly represented and joined by their respective parents. Impleaded as an
additional plaintiff is the Philippine Ecological Network, Inc. (PENI), a domestic, non-stock and non-profit
corporation organized for the purpose of, inter alia, engaging in concerted action geared for the protection of
our environment and natural resources. The original defendant was the Honorable Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr.,
then Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). His substitution in this
petition by the new Secretary, the Honorable Angel C. Alcala, was subsequently ordered upon proper motion
by the petitioners. The complaint was instituted as a taxpayers' classsuit and alleges that the plaintiffs "are all
citizens of the Republic of the Philippines, taxpayers, and entitled to the full benefit, use and enjoyment of the
natural resource treasure that is the country's virgin tropical forests." The same was filed for themselves and
others who are equally concerned about the preservation of said resource but are "so numerous that it is

impracticable to bring them all before the Court."


On 22 June 1990, the original defendant, Secretary Factoran, Jr., filed a Motion to Dismiss the complaint
based on two grounds, namely: the plaintiffs have no cause of action against him and, the issue raised by the
plaintiffs is a political question which properly pertains to the legislative or executive branches of Government.
In their 12 July 1990 Opposition to the Motion, the petitioners maintain that, the complaint shows a clear and
unmistakable cause of action, the motion is dilatory and the action presents a justiciable question as it
involves the defendant's abuse of discretion.
On 18 July 1991, respondent Judge issued an order granting the aforementioned motion to dismiss. In the
said order, not only was thedefendant's claim that the complaint states no cause of action against him and
that it raises a political question sustained, the respondent Judge further ruled that the granting of the relief
prayed for would result in the impairment of contracts which is prohibited by the fundamental law of the land.
Plaintiffs thus filed the instant special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court
and ask this Court to rescind and set aside the dismissal order on the ground that the respondent Judge
gravely abused his discretion in dismissing the action. Again, the parents of the plaintiffs-minors not only
represent their children, but have also joined the latter in this case.
Petitioners contend that the complaint clearly and unmistakably states a cause of action as it contains
sufficient allegations concerning their right to a sound environment based on Articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Civil
Code (Human Relations), Section 4 of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 192 creating the DENR, Section 3 of
Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1151 (Philippine Environmental Policy), Section 16, Article II of the 1987
Constitution recognizing the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology, the concept of
generational genocide in Criminal Law and the concept of man's inalienable right to self-preservation and selfperpetuation embodied in natural law. Petitioners likewise rely on the respondent's correlative obligation per
Section 4 of E.O. No. 192, to safeguard the people's right to a healthful environment.
It is further claimed that the issue of the respondent Secretary's alleged grave abuse of discretion in granting
Timber License Agreements (TLAs) to cover more areas for logging than what is available involves a judicial
question.
Anent the invocation by the respondent Judge of the Constitution's non-impairment clause, petitioners
maintain that the same does not apply in this case because TLAs are not contracts. They likewise submit that
even if TLAs may be considered protected by the said clause, it is well settled that they may still be revoked
by the State when the public interest so requires.

Issues:
(1) Whether or not the petitioners have locus standi.
(2) Whether or not the petiton is in a form of a class suit.
(3) Whether or not the TLAs can be out rightly cancelled.
(4) Whether or not the petition should be dismissed.

Held: As to the matter of the cancellation of the TLAs, respondents submit that the same cannot be done by
the State without due process of law. Once issued, a TLA remains effective for a certain period of time
usually for twenty-five (25) years. During its effectivity, the same can neither be revised nor cancelled unless
the holder has been found, after due notice and hearing, to have violated the terms of the agreement or other
forestry laws and regulations. Petitioners' proposition to have all the TLAs indiscriminately cancelled without
the requisite hearing would be violative of the requirements of due process.
The subject matter of the complaint is of common and general interest not just to several, but to all citizens of
the Philippines. Consequently, since the parties are so numerous, it, becomes impracticable, if not totally
impossible, to bring all of them before the court. The plaintiffs therein are numerous and representative
enough to ensure the full protection of all concerned interests. Hence, all the requisites for the filing of a valid
class suit under Section 12, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court are present both in the said civil case and in
the instant petition, the latter being but an incident to the former.
Petitioners minors assert that they represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn. Their
personality to sue in behalf of the succeeding generations can only be based on the concept of
intergenerational responsibility insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned. Nature
means the created world in its entirety. Every generation has a responsibility to the next to preserve that
rhythm and harmony for the full enjoyment of a balanced and healthful ecology. The minors' assertion of their
right to a sound environment constitutes, at the same time, the performance of their obligation to ensure the
protection of that right for the generations to come.
The complaint focuses on one specific fundamental legal right the right to a balanced and healthful ecology
which, for the first time in our nation's constitutional history, is solemnly incorporated in the fundamental law.
Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Constitution.
While the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is to be found under the Declaration of Principles and
State Policies and not under the Bill of Rights, it does not follow that it is less important than any of the civil
and political rights enumerated in the latter. Such a right belongs to a different category of rights altogether for
it concerns nothing less than self-preservation and self-perpetuation aptly and fittingly stressed by the
petitioners the advancement of which may even be said to predate all governments and constitutions. As a
matter of fact, these basic rights need not even be written in the Constitution for they are assumed to exist
from the inception of humankind. If they are now explicitly mentioned in the fundamental charter, it is because
of the well-founded fear of its framers that unless the rights to a balanced and healthful ecology and to health
are mandated as state policies by the Constitution itself, thereby highlighting their continuing importance and
imposing upon the state a solemn obligation to preserve the first and protect and advance the second, the
day would not be too far when all else would be lost not only for the present generation, but also for those to
come generations which stand to inherit nothing but parched earth incapable of sustaining life.
Conformably with the enunciated right to a balanced and healthful ecology and the right to health, as well as
the other related provisions of the Constitution concerning the conservation, development and utilization of
the country's natural resources, then President Corazon C. Aquino promulgated on 10 June 1987 E.O. No.
192, Section 4 of which expressly mandates that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
"shall be the primary government agency responsible for the conservation, management, development and
proper use of the country's environment and natural resources, specifically forest and grazing lands, mineral,

resources, including those in reservation and watershed areas, and lands of the public domain, as well as the
licensing and regulation of all natural resources as may be provided for by law in order to ensure equitable
sharing of the benefits derived therefrom for the welfare of the present and future generations of Filipinos."
Section 3 thereof makes the following statement of policy:
The above provision stresses "the necessity of maintaining a sound ecological balance and protecting and
enhancing the quality of the environment." Section 2 of the same Title, on the other hand, specifically speaks
of the mandate of the DENR; however, it makes particular reference to the fact of the agency's being subject
to law and higher authority.
It may, however, be recalled that even before the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, specific statutes already
paid special attention to the "environmental right" of the present and future generations. On 6 June 1977, P.D.
No. 1151 and P.D. No. 1152 were issued. Thus, the right of the petitioners to a balanced and healthful ecology
is as clear as the DENR's duty under its mandate and by virtue of its powers and functions under E.O. No.
192 and the Administrative Code of 1987 to protect and advance the said right.
A denial or violation of that right by the other who has the correlative duty or obligation to respect or protect
the same gives rise to a cause of action. Petitioners maintain that the granting of the TLAs, which they claim
was done with grave abuse of discretion, violated their right to a balanced and healthful ecology; hence, the
full protection thereof requires that no further TLAs should be renewed or granted.
It is settled in this jurisdiction that in a motion to dismiss based on the ground that the complaint fails to state a
cause of action; the question submitted to the court for resolution involves the sufficiency of the facts alleged
in the complaint itself. No other matter should be considered; furthermore, the truth of falsity of the said
allegations is beside the point for the truth thereof is deemed hypothetically admitted. Policy formulation or
determination by the executive or legislative branches of Government is not squarely put in issue. What is
principally involved is the enforcement of a right vis-a-vis policies already formulated and expressed in
legislation. It must, nonetheless, be emphasized that the political question doctrine is no longer, the
insurmountable obstacle to the exercise of judicial power or the impenetrable shield that protects executive
and legislative actions from judicial inquiry or review.
In the second place, even if it is to be assumed that the same are contracts, the instant case does not involve
a law or even an executive issuance declaring the cancellation or modification of existing timber licenses.
Hence, the non-impairment clause cannot as yet be invoked. Nevertheless, granting further that a law has
actually been passed mandating cancellations or modifications, the same cannot still be stigmatized as a
violation of the non-impairment clause. This is because by its very nature and purpose, such as law could
have only been passed in the exercise of the police power of the state for the purpose of advancing the right
of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology, promoting their health and enhancing the general welfare.
Finally, it is difficult to imagine, as the trial court did, how the non-impairment clause could apply with respect
to the prayer to enjoin the respondent Secretary from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving
new timber licenses for, save in cases of renewal, no contract would have as of yet existed in the other
instances. Moreover, with respect to renewal, the holder is not entitled to it as a matter of right.
Petition is hereby GRANTED, and the challenged Order of respondent Judge of 18 July 1991 dismissing Civil
Case No. 90-777 is hereby set aside. The petitioners may therefore amend their complaint to implead as
defendants the holders or grantees of the questioned timber license agreements.