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OPOSA vs FACTORAN, G.R. No.

101083 July 30, 1993


FACTS:
The principal petitioners are all minors duly represented and joined by their respective
parents.The complaint was instituted as a taxpayers' class suit 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."
Public records reveal that the defendant's, predecessors have granted timber license
agreements ('TLA's') to various corporations to cut the aggregate area of 3.89 million
hectares for commercial logging purposes. At the present rate of deforestation, i.e.
about 200,000 hectares per annum or 25 hectares per hour nighttime, Saturdays,
Sundays and holidays included the Philippines will be bereft of forest resources after
the end of this ensuing decade, if not earlier. The adverse effects, disastrous
consequences, serious injury and irreparable damage of this continued trend of
deforestation to the plaintiff minor's generation and to generations yet unborn are
evident and incontrovertible. Defendant's refusal to cancel the aforementioned TLA's is
manifestly contrary to the public policy enunciated in the Philippine Environmental
Policy. Thus the petitioners were prompted to file a civil case before the RTC of Makati.
Secretary Factoran, Jr., filed a Motion to Dismiss the complaint based on two (2)
grounds, namely: (1) the plaintiffs have no cause of action against him and (2) the issue
raised by the plaintiffs is a political question which properly pertains to the legislative or
executive branches of Government. The RTC granted the Motion to Dismiss.
ISSUE:
1. Whether the said petitioners have a cause of action to "prevent the
misappropriation or impairment" of Philippine rainforests and "arrest the unabated
hemorrhage of the country's vital life support systems and continued rape of Mother
Earth;" and
2. Whether the issue raised by the Petitioners, assuming they have locus standi, is a
political question.
HELD:
1. The Supreme Court held that the suit filed by the petitioners is indeed a class suit.
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. We likewise declare that 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. The Court also held that the petitioner minors have
the 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. Thus the petitioners have locus standi to file the said
action.
The right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries with it the correlative duty to
refrain from impairing the environment. The right of the petitioners (and all those they
represent) 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 corelative duty or obligation to respect or
protect the same gives rise to a cause of action.
As to the defense related to the issue being a political question, this suit principally
involved 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 relation to the non-imparment clause allegation, it should be noted that timber
licenses are not contracts. Hence, the non-impairment clause cannot be invoked.

2. No, it issue is a justiciable issue which is within the authority of the Court to pass
upon. 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.
The right of the petitioners is well-embodied in Section 16, Art. II of the 1987 Constitution. And
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.

The right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries with it the correlative duty to
refrain from impairing the environment.

CRUZ vs SECRETARY OF DENR, G.R. No. 135385 December 6, 2000


FACTS:
Petitioners Isagani Cruz and Cesar Europa brought this suit for prohibition and
mandamus as citizens and taxpayers, assailing the constitutionality of certain provisions
of Republic Act No. 8371 (R.A. 8371), otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples
Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA), and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (Implementing
Rules).
Petitioners assail the constitutionality of the following provisions of the IPRA and its
Implementing Rules on the ground that they 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. Petitioners also 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) violate the rights of private
landowners. Petitioners also question the provisions of the IPRA defining the powers
and jurisdiction of the NCIP and making customary law applicable to the settlement of
disputes involving ancestral domains and ancestral lands on the ground that these
provisions violate the due process clause of the Constitution.Finally, petitioners assail
the validity of Rule VII, Part II, Section 1 of the NCIP Administrative Order No. 1, series
of 1998, which provides that "the administrative relationship of the NCIP to the Office of
the President is characterized as a lateral but autonomous relationship for purposes of
policy and program coordination." They contend that said Rule infringes upon the
Presidents power of control over executive departments under Section 17, Article VII of
the Constitution.
The Solicitor General is of the view that the IPRA is partly unconstitutional on the
ground that it grants ownership over natural resources to indigenous peoples and prays
that the petition be granted in part.
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the government agency
created under the IPRA to implement its provisions, filed on October 13, 1998 their
Comment to the Petition, in which they defend the constitutionality of the IPRA and pray
that the petition be dismissed for lack of merit. The Commission on Human Rights
asserts that IPRA is an expression of the principle of parenspatriae and that the State
has the responsibility to protect and guarantee the rights of those who are at a serious
disadvantage like indigenous peoples. And together with other intervenors, they joined
NCIP in defending the constitutionality of the IPRA.

ISSUE:
Whether the enumerated provisions of IPRA Law and its Implementing Rules are
constitutional.
HELD:
The questioned provisions are declared valid and constitutional.
Seven (7) voted to dismiss the petition. Justice Kapunan filed an opinion, which the
Chief Justice and Justices Bellosillo, Quisumbing, and Santiago join, sustaining the
validity of the challenged provisions of R.A. 8371. Justice Puno also filed a separate
opinion sustaining all challenged provisions of the law with the exception of Section 1,
Part II, Rule III of NCIP Administrative Order No. 1, series of 1998, the Rules and
Regulations Implementing the IPRA, and Section 57 of the IPRA which he contends
should be interpreted as dealing with the large-scale exploitation of natural resources
and should be read in conjunction with Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. On
the other hand, Justice Mendoza voted to dismiss the petition solely on the ground that
it does not raise a justiciable controversy and petitioners do not have standing to
question the constitutionality of R.A. 8371.
Seven (7) other members of the Court voted to grant the petition. Justice Panganiban
filed a separate opinion expressing the view that Sections 3 (a)(b), 5, 6, 7 (a)(b), 8, and
related provisions of R.A. 8371 are unconstitutional. He reserves judgment on the
constitutionality of Sections 58, 59, 65, and 66 of the law, which he believes must await
the filing of specific cases by those whose rights may have been violated by the IPRA.
Justice Vitug also filed a separate opinion expressing the view that Sections 3(a), 7, and
57 of R.A. 8371 are unconstitutional. Justices Melo, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes,
and De Leon join in the separate opinions of Justices Panganiban and Vitug.
However, after redeliberation, the voting remained the same. Accordingly, the petition
was dismissed and the questioned law and its implementing rules remain valid.