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OPOSA v. FACTORAN, Jr.

G.R. No. 101083 July 30, 1993

FACTS:

Principal petitioners, all minors, are duly represented by their
parents in filing Civil Case No. 90-777, which is a class suit, before
the RTC Branch 66 of Makati City originally against Sec.
Fulgeciano S. Factoran, Jr. (former DENR Secretary). Original
respondent was subsequently replaced by the current DENR
Secretary Angel C. Alcala upon order of the court. Impleaded as
an additional plaintiff is the Philippine Ecological Network, Inc.
(PENI).

The minors asseverate that they represent their generation as
well as generation yet unborn. The civil case prays for judgment
to be rendered ordering defendant, his agents, representatives
and other persons acting in his behalf to:

1. Cancel all existing timber license agreements in the country;

2. Cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing,
renewing or approving new timber license agreements.

Plaintiffs further assert that the adverse and detrimental
consequences of continued and deforestation are so capable of
unquestionable demonstration that the same may be submitted
as a matter of judicial notice.

As their cause of action, plaintiffs specifically allege among other
things that they have a clear and constitutional right to a
balanced and healthful ecology and are entitled to protection by
the State in its capacity as the parens patriae. On June 22, 1990,
the original defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss the complaint
based on two (2) grounds, namely:

1. The plaintiffs have no cause of action against him; and

and utilization be equitably accessible to the present as well as the future generations. renewal and conservation of the country’s forest.2. and for the succeeding generation. Petitioner-minors assert that they represent their generation as well as generations to come. the judicious disposition. The Supreme Court ruled that they can. Put a little differently. 1991. management. utilization. file a class suit. development. . offshore areas and other natural resources to the end that their exploration. Such a right considers the “rhythm and harmony of nature” which indispensably include. land. wildlife. The issue raised by the plaintiffs is a political question which properly pertains to the legislative or executive branches of the Government. inter alia. for themselves. for others of their generation. every generation has a responsibility to the next to preserve that rhythm and harmony for the full enjoyment of a balanced and healthful ecology. waters. fisheries. respondent Judge issued an order granting the aforementioned motion to dismiss. ISSUE: Whether petitioners have legal standing (locus standi) by virtue of Section 15 and 16 of Article II of the Constitution in filing the class suit? HELD: Yes. On July 18. Needless to say. the performance of their obligation to ensure the protection of that right for the generations to come. Their personality to sue in behalf of succeeding generations is based on the concept of intergenerational responsibility insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned. mineral. the minor’s assertion of their right to a sound environment constitutes at the same time.

192 is also substantially re-stated in Title XIV Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987. wholly or partly. . WHEREFORE. development and conservation of the country's natural resources. right of the petitioners (and all those they represent) to a balanced and healthful ecology is as clear as DENR's duty to protect and advance the said right. 192 expressly mandates the DENR to be the primary government agency responsible for the governing and supervising the exploration.Section 4 of E. The cancellation may thus be granted. Thus. as well as the specific averments under the sub heading CAUSE OF ACTION. After a careful examination of the petitioner’s complaint. The policy declaration of E. 1991 dismissing Civil Case is set aside. the claimed violation of their rights.O. being impressed with merit. The petitioners may therefore amend their complaint to implead as defendants the holders or grantees of the question TLAs. Both E. 192 and Administrative Code of 1987 have set the objectives which will serve as the bases for policy formation. the instant Petition is GRANTED. the Court found the statements under the introductory affirmative allegations.O. and the challenged Order of Respondent Judge of July 18.O. utilization. to be adequate enough to show prima facie. and have defined the powers and functions of the DENR.