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EN BANC

G.R. No. 101083 July 30, 1993

JUAN ANTONIO, ANNA ROSARIO and JOSE ALFONSO, all surnamed OPOSA,
minors, and represented by their parents ANTONIO and RIZALINA OPOSA,
ROBERTA NICOLE SADIUA, minor, represented by her parents CALVIN and
ROBERTA SADIUA, CARLO, AMANDA SALUD and PATRISHA, all surnamed
FLORES, minors and represented by their parents ENRICO and NIDA FLORES,
GIANINA DITA R. FORTUN, minor, represented by her parents SIGRID and
DOLORES FORTUN, GEORGE II and MA. CONCEPCION, all surnamed MISA,
minors and represented by their parents GEORGE and MYRA MISA, BENJAMIN
ALAN V. PESIGAN, minor, represented by his parents ANTONIO and ALICE
PESIGAN, JOVIE MARIE ALFARO, minor, represented by her parents JOSE and
MARIA VIOLETA ALFARO, MARIA CONCEPCION T. CASTRO, minor,
represented by her parents FREDENIL and JANE CASTRO, JOHANNA
DESAMPARADO,
minor, represented by her parents JOSE and ANGELA DESAMPRADO, CARLO
JOAQUIN T. NARVASA, minor, represented by his parents GREGORIO II and
CRISTINE CHARITY NARVASA, MA. MARGARITA, JESUS IGNACIO, MA.
ANGELA and MARIE GABRIELLE, all surnamed SAENZ, minors, represented by
their parents ROBERTO and AURORA SAENZ, KRISTINE, MARY ELLEN, MAY,
GOLDA MARTHE and DAVID IAN, all surnamed KING, minors, represented by their
parents MARIO and HAYDEE KING, DAVID, FRANCISCO and THERESE
VICTORIA, all surnamed ENDRIGA, minors, represented by their parents
BALTAZAR and TERESITA ENDRIGA, JOSE MA. and REGINA MA., all surnamed
ABAYA, minors, represented by their parents ANTONIO and MARICA ABAYA,
MARILIN, MARIO, JR. and MARIETTE, all surnamed CARDAMA, minors,
represented by their parents MARIO and LINA CARDAMA, CLARISSA, ANN
MARIE, NAGEL, and IMEE LYN, all surnamed OPOSA, minors and represented by
their parents RICARDO and MARISSA OPOSA, PHILIP JOSEPH, STEPHEN JOHN
and ISAIAH JAMES, all surnamed QUIPIT, minors, represented by their parents
JOSE MAX and VILMI QUIPIT, BUGHAW CIELO, CRISANTO, ANNA, DANIEL
and FRANCISCO, all surnamed BIBAL, minors, represented by their parents
FRANCISCO, JR. and MILAGROS BIBAL, and THE PHILIPPINE ECOLOGICAL
NETWORK, INC., Petitioners, vs. THE HONORABLE FULGENCIO S. FACTORAN,
JR., in his capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources, and THE HONORABLE ERIBERTO U. ROSARIO, Presiding Judge of the
RTC, Makati, Branch 66, Respondents.

Oposa Law Office for petitioners. chanrobles virtu al la w libra ry

The Solicitor General for respondents.

DAVIDE, JR., J.:


In a broader sense, this petition bears upon the right of Filipinos to a balanced and healthful
ecology which the petitioners dramatically associate with the twin concepts of "inter-
generational responsibility" and "inter-generational justice." Specifically, it touches on the
issue of 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." chanrobles v irtual law library

The controversy has its genesis in Civil Case No. 90-77 which was filed before Branch 66
(Makati, Metro Manila) of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), National Capital Judicial Region.
The principal plaintiffs therein, now the 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. 1The complaint 2was
instituted as a taxpayers' class suit 3and 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." The minors
further asseverate that they "represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn."
4Consequently, it is prayed for that judgment be rendered:

. . . ordering defendant, his agents, representatives and other persons acting in his behalf to -
library
chanrobles virtual law

(1) Cancel all existing timber license agreements in the country; chanrobles virtual law library

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

and granting the plaintiffs ". . . such other reliefs just and equitable under the premises." 5 chanrobles virtual law library

The complaint starts off with the general averments that the Philippine archipelago of 7,100
islands has a land area of thirty million (30,000,000) hectares and is endowed with rich, lush
and verdant rainforests in which varied, rare and unique species of flora and fauna may be
found; these rainforests contain a genetic, biological and chemical pool which is
irreplaceable; they are also the habitat of indigenous Philippine cultures which have existed,
endured and flourished since time immemorial; scientific evidence reveals that in order to
maintain a balanced and healthful ecology, the country's land area should be utilized on the
basis of a ratio of fifty-four per cent (54%) for forest cover and forty-six per cent (46%) for
agricultural, residential, industrial, commercial and other uses; the distortion and disturbance
of this balance as a consequence of deforestation have resulted in a host of environmental
tragedies, such as (a) water shortages resulting from drying up of the water table, otherwise
known as the "aquifer," as well as of rivers, brooks and streams, (b) salinization of the water
table as a result of the intrusion therein of salt water, incontrovertible examples of which may
be found in the island of Cebu and the Municipality of Bacoor, Cavite, (c) massive erosion
and the consequential loss of soil fertility and agricultural productivity, with the volume of
soil eroded estimated at one billion (1,000,000,000) cubic meters per annum - approximately
the size of the entire island of Catanduanes, (d) the endangering and extinction of the
country's unique, rare and varied flora and fauna, (e) the disturbance and dislocation of
cultural communities, including the disappearance of the Filipino's indigenous cultures, (f)
the siltation of rivers and seabeds and consequential destruction of corals and other aquatic
life leading to a critical reduction in marine resource productivity, (g) recurrent spells of
drought as is presently experienced by the entire country, (h) increasing velocity of typhoon
winds which result from the absence of windbreakers, (i) the floodings of lowlands and
agricultural plains arising from the absence of the absorbent mechanism of forests, (j) the
siltation and shortening of the lifespan of multi-billion peso dams constructed and operated
for the purpose of supplying water for domestic uses, irrigation and the generation of electric
power, and (k) the reduction of the earth's capacity to process carbon dioxide gases which has
led to perplexing and catastrophic climatic changes such as the phenomenon of global
warming, otherwise known as the "greenhouse effect." chanrobles virtual law library

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. This notwithstanding, they expressed their intention to present
expert witnesses as well as documentary, photographic and film evidence in the course of the
trial.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

As their cause of action, they specifically allege that:

CAUSE OF ACTION

7. Plaintiffs replead by reference the foregoing allegations. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

8. Twenty-five (25) years ago, the Philippines had some sixteen (16) million hectares of
rainforests constituting roughly 53% of the country's land mass. chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

9. Satellite images taken in 1987 reveal that there remained no more than 1.2 million hectares
of said rainforests or four per cent (4.0%) of the country's land area. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

10. More recent surveys reveal that a mere 850,000 hectares of virgin old-growth rainforests
are left, barely 2.8% of the entire land mass of the Philippine archipelago and about 3.0
million hectares of immature and uneconomical secondary growth forests. chanroblesv irtualawlib rary chanrobles virtual law library

11. 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. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

A copy of the TLA holders and the corresponding areas covered is hereto attached as Annex
"A".chanroblesvir tualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

12. 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. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

13. 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. As a matter of fact, the environmental damages
enumerated in paragraph 6 hereof are already being felt, experienced and suffered by the
generation of plaintiff adults. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

14. The continued allowance by defendant of TLA holders to cut and deforest the remaining
forest stands will work great damage and irreparable injury to plaintiffs - especially plaintiff
minors and their successors - who may never see, use, benefit from and enjoy this rare and
unique natural resource treasure. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

This act of defendant constitutes a misappropriation and/or impairment of the natural


resource property he holds in trust for the benefit of plaintiff minors and succeeding
generations.chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

15. Plaintiffs 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. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

16. Plaintiff have exhausted all administrative remedies with the defendant's office. On
March 2, 1990, plaintiffs served upon defendant a final demand to cancel all logging permits
in the country. chanrob lesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

A copy of the plaintiffs' letter dated March 1, 1990 is hereto attached as Annex "B". chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

17. Defendant, however, fails and refuses to cancel the existing TLA's to the continuing
serious damage and extreme prejudice of plaintiffs. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

18. The continued failure and refusal by defendant to cancel the TLA's is an act violative of
the rights of plaintiffs, especially plaintiff minors who may be left with a country that is
desertified (sic), bare, barren and devoid of the wonderful flora, fauna and indigenous
cultures which the Philippines had been abundantly blessed with. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

19. Defendant's refusal to cancel the aforementioned TLA's is manifestly contrary to the
public policy enunciated in the Philippine Environmental Policy which, in pertinent part,
states that it is the policy of the State - chanrobles vir tual law library

(a) to create, develop, maintain and improve conditions under which man and nature can
thrive in productive and enjoyable harmony with each other; chanrobles virtual law library

(b) to fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations of
Filipinos and; chanrobles virtual law library

(c) to ensure the attainment of an environmental quality that is conductive to a life of dignity
and well-being. (P.D. 1151, 6 June 1977) chanrobles virtual law library

20. Furthermore, defendant's continued refusal to cancel the aforementioned TLA's is


contradictory to the Constitutional policy of the State to - chanrobles virtual law library

a. effect "a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income and wealth" and "make full
and efficient use of natural resources (sic)." (Section 1, Article XII of the Constitution); chanrobles virtual law library

b. "protect the nation's marine wealth." (Section 2, ibid); chanrobles virtual law library
c. "conserve and promote the nation's cultural heritage and resources (sic)" (Section 14,
Article XIV, id.);chanrobles virtual law library

d. "protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord
with the rhythm and harmony of nature." (Section 16, Article II, id.) chanrob les virtual law library

21. Finally, defendant's act is contrary to the highest law of humankind - the natural law - and
violative of plaintiffs' right to self-preservation and perpetuation. chanroblesvir tualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

22. There is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in law other than the instant action
to arrest the unabated hemorrhage of the country's vital life support systems and continued
rape of Mother Earth. 6 chanrobles virtual law library

On 22 June 1990, the original defendant, 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. In their 12 July 1990
Opposition to the Motion, the petitioners maintain that (1) the complaint shows a clear and
unmistakable cause of action, (2) the motion is dilatory and (3) the action presents a
justiciable question as it involves the defendant's abuse of discretion. chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

On 18 July 1991, respondent Judge issued an order granting the aforementioned motion to
dismiss. 7In the said order, not only was the defendant'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. chanrobles virtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

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. 8 chanrobles virtual law library

On 14 May 1992, We resolved to give due course to the petition and required the parties to
submit their respective Memoranda after the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a
Comment in behalf of the respondents and the petitioners filed a reply thereto. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

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 self-perpetuation 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. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
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. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

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.chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

On the other hand, the respondents aver that the petitioners failed to allege in their complaint
a specific legal right violated by the respondent Secretary for which any relief is provided by
law. They see nothing in the complaint but vague and nebulous allegations concerning an
"environmental right" which supposedly entitles the petitioners to the "protection by the state
in its capacity as parens patriae." Such allegations, according to them, do not reveal a valid
cause of action. They then reiterate the theory that the question of whether logging should be
permitted in the country is a political question which should be properly addressed to the
executive or legislative branches of Government. They therefore assert that the petitioners'
resources is not to file an action to court, but to lobby before Congress for the passage of a
bill that would ban logging totally. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

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. chanrobles virtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Before going any further, We must first focus on some procedural matters. Petitioners
instituted Civil Case No. 90-777 as a class suit. The original defendant and the present
respondents did not take issue with this matter. Nevertheless, We hereby rule that the said
civil case 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. chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

This case, however, has a special and novel element. Petitioners minors assert that they
represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn. We find no difficulty in ruling
that they can, for themselves, for others of their generation and for the succeeding
generations, file a class suit. 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. Such a right, as hereinafter expounded,
considers
the "rhythm and harmony of nature." Nature means the created world in its entirety. 9Such
rhythm and harmony indispensably include, inter alia, the judicious disposition, utilization,
management, renewal and conservation of the country's forest, mineral, land, waters,
fisheries, wildlife, off-shore areas and other natural resources to the end that their exploration,
development and utilization be equitably accessible to the present as well as future
generations. 10Needless 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. chanrobles virtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The locus standi of the petitioners having thus been addressed, We shall now proceed to the
merits of the petition. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual la w library

After a careful perusal of the complaint in question and a meticulous consideration and
evaluation of the issues raised and arguments adduced by the parties, We do not hesitate to
find for the petitioners and rule against the respondent Judge's challenged order for having
been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. The pertinent
portions of the said order reads as follows:

xxx xxx xxx chanrobles virtual law library

After a careful and circumspect evaluation of the Complaint, the Court cannot help but agree
with the defendant. For although we believe that plaintiffs have but the noblest of all
intentions, it (sic) fell short of alleging, with sufficient definiteness, a specific legal right they
are seeking to enforce and protect, or a specific legal wrong they are seeking to prevent and
redress (Sec. 1, Rule 2, RRC). Furthermore, the Court notes that the Complaint is replete with
vague assumptions and vague conclusions based on unverified data. In fine, plaintiffs fail to
state a cause of action in its Complaint against the herein defendant. chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Furthermore, the Court firmly believes that the matter before it, being impressed with
political color and involving a matter of public policy, may not be taken cognizance of by this
Court without doing violence to the sacred principle of "Separation of Powers" of the three
(3) co-equal branches of the Government. chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The Court is likewise of the impression that it cannot, no matter how we stretch our
jurisdiction, grant the reliefs prayed for by the plaintiffs, i.e., to cancel all existing timber
license agreements in the country and to cease and desist from receiving, accepting,
processing, renewing or approving new timber license agreements. For to do otherwise would
amount to "impairment of contracts" abhored (sic) by the fundamental law. 11 chanrobles virtual law library

We do not agree with the trial court's conclusions that the plaintiffs failed to allege with
sufficient definiteness a specific legal right involved or a specific legal wrong committed, and
that the complaint is replete with vague assumptions and conclusions based on unverified
data. A reading of the complaint itself belies these conclusions. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

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 explicitly
provides:
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. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

This right unites with the right to health which is provided for in the preceding section of the
same article:chanrobles v irtual law library

Sec. 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health
consciousness among them.

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. chanroblesvir tualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries with it the correlative duty to refrain
from impairing the environment. During the debates on this right in one of the plenary
sessions of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, the following exchange transpired between
Commissioner Wilfrido Villacorta and Commissioner Adolfo Azcuna who sponsored the
section in question:

MR. VILLACORTA: chanrobles virtual law library

Does this section mandate the State to provide sanctions against all forms of pollution - air,
water and noise pollution? chanrobles virtual law library

MR. AZCUNA: chanrobles v irtual law library

Yes, Madam President. The right to healthful (sic) environment necessarily carries with it the
correlative duty of not impairing the same and, therefore, sanctions may be provided for
impairment of environmental balance. 12

The said right implies, among many other things, the judicious management and conservation
of the country's forests.

Without such forests, the ecological or environmental balance would be irreversiby disrupted.

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, 13then President Corazon C.
Aquino promulgated on 10 June 1987 E.O. No. 192, 14Section 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:

Sec. 3. Declaration of Policy. - It is hereby declared the policy of the State to ensure the
sustainable use, development, management, renewal, and conservation of the country's forest,
mineral, land, off-shore areas and other natural resources, including the protection and
enhancement of the quality of the environment, and equitable access of the different segments
of the population to the development and the use of the country's natural resources, not only
for the present generation but for future generations as well. It is also the policy of the state to
recognize and apply a true value system including social and environmental cost implications
relative to their utilization, development and conservation of our natural resources.

This policy declaration is substantially re-stated it Title XIV, Book IV of the Administrative
Code of 1987, 15 specifically in Section 1 thereof which reads:

Sec. 1. Declaration of Policy. - (1) The State shall ensure, for the benefit of the Filipino
people, the full exploration and development as well as the judicious disposition, utilization,
management, renewal and conservation of the country's forest, mineral, land, waters,
fisheries, wildlife, off-shore areas and other natural resources, consistent with the necessity of
maintaining a sound ecological balance and protecting and enhancing the quality of the
environment and the objective of making the exploration, development and utilization of such
natural resources equitably accessible to the different segments of the present as well as
future generations.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

(2) The State shall likewise recognize and apply a true value system that takes into account
social and environmental cost implications relative to the utilization, development and
conservation of our natural resources.

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. Said section
provides:

Sec. 2. Mandate. - (1) The Department of Environment and Natural Resources shall be
primarily responsible for the implementation of the foregoing policy. chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

(2) It shall, subject to law and higher authority, be in charge of carrying out the State's
constitutional mandate to control and supervise the exploration, development, utilization, and
conservation of the country's natural resources.
Both E.O. NO. 192 and the Administrative Code of 1987 have set the objectives which will
serve as the bases for policy formulation, and have defined the powers and functions of the
DENR. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

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 (Philippine Environmental Policy) and
P.D. No. 1152 (Philippine Environment Code) were issued. The former "declared a
continuing policy of the State (a) to create, develop, maintain and improve conditions under
which man and nature can thrive in productive and enjoyable harmony with each other, (b) to
fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations of
Filipinos, and (c) to insure the attainment of an environmental quality that is conducive to a
life of dignity and well-being." 16As its goal, it speaks of the "responsibilities of each
generation as trustee and guardian of the environment for succeeding generations." 17The
latter statute, on the other hand, gave flesh to the said policy. chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Thus, 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. chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

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. 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. chanrobles virtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

A cause of action is defined as:

. . . an act or omission of one party in violation of the legal right or rights of the other; and its
essential elements are legal right of the plaintiff, correlative obligation of the defendant, and
act or omission of the defendant in violation of said legal right. 18 chanrobles virtual law library

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, 19the 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. The only issue to be resolved in such a case
is: admitting such alleged facts to be true, may the court render a valid judgment in
accordance with the prayer in the complaint? 20In Militante vs. Edrosolano, 21this Court laid
down the rule that the judiciary should "exercise the utmost care and circumspection in
passing upon a motion to dismiss on the ground of the absence thereof [cause of action] lest,
by its failure to manifest a correct appreciation of the facts alleged and deemed hypothetically
admitted, what the law grants or recognizes is effectively nullified. If that happens, there is a
blot on the legal order. The law itself stands in disrepute." chanrobles virtual law library

After careful examination of the petitioners' complaint, We find the statements under the
introductory affirmative allegations, as well as the specific averments under the sub-heading
CAUSE OF ACTION, to be adequate enough to show, prima facie, the claimed violation of
their rights. On the basis thereof, they may thus be granted, wholly or partly, the reliefs
prayed for. It bears stressing, however, that insofar as the cancellation of the TLAs is
concerned, there is the need to implead, as party defendants, the grantees thereof for they are
indispensable parties. chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual la w library

The foregoing considered, Civil Case No. 90-777 be said to raise a political question. 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. The second paragraph of section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution
states that:

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or
not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on
the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.

Commenting on this provision in his book, Philippine Political Law, 22Mr. Justice Isagani A.
Cruz, a distinguished member of this Court, says:

The first part of the authority represents the traditional concept of judicial power, involving
the settlement of conflicting rights as conferred as law. The second part of the authority
represents a broadening of judicial power to enable the courts of justice to review what was
before forbidden territory, to wit, the discretion of the political departments of the
government. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

As worded, the new provision vests in the judiciary, and particularly the Supreme Court, the
power to rule upon even the wisdom of the decisions of the executive and the legislature and
to declare their acts invalid for lack or excess of jurisdiction because tainted with grave abuse
of discretion. The catch, of course, is the meaning of "grave abuse of discretion," which is a
very elastic phrase that can expand or contract according to the disposition of the judiciary.

In Daza vs. Singson, 23Mr. Justice Cruz, now speaking for this Court, noted:

In the case now before us, the jurisdictional objection becomes even less tenable and
decisive. The reason is that, even if we were to assume that the issue presented before us was
political in nature, we would still not be precluded from revolving it under the expanded
jurisdiction conferred upon us that now covers, in proper cases, even the political question.
Article VII, Section 1, of the Constitution clearly provides: . . .

The last ground invoked by the trial court in dismissing the complaint is the non-impairment
of contracts clause found in the Constitution. The court a quo declared that:

The Court is likewise of the impression that it cannot, no matter how we stretch our
jurisdiction, grant the reliefs prayed for by the plaintiffs, i.e., to cancel all existing timber
license agreements in the country and to cease and desist from receiving, accepting,
processing, renewing or approving new timber license agreements. For to do otherwise would
amount to "impairment of contracts" abhored (sic) by the fundamental law. 24 chanrobles virtual law library
We are not persuaded at all; on the contrary, We are amazed, if not shocked, by such a
sweeping pronouncement. In the first place, the respondent Secretary did not, for obvious
reasons, even invoke in his motion to dismiss the non-impairment clause. If he had done so,
he would have acted with utmost infidelity to the Government by providing undue and
unwarranted benefits and advantages to the timber license holders because he would have
forever bound the Government to strictly respect the said licenses according to their terms
and conditions regardless of changes in policy and the demands of public interest and
welfare. He was aware that as correctly pointed out by the petitioners, into every timber
license must be read Section 20 of the Forestry Reform Code (P.D. No. 705) which provides:

. . . Provided, That when the national interest so requires, the President may amend, modify,
replace or rescind any contract, concession, permit, licenses or any other form of privilege
granted herein . . .

Needless to say, all licenses may thus be revoked or rescinded by executive action. It is not a
contract, property or a property right protested by the due process clause of the Constitution.
In Tan vs. Director of Forestry, 25this Court held:

. . . A timber license is an instrument by which the State regulates the utilization and
disposition of forest resources to the end that public welfare is promoted. A timber license is
not a contract within the purview of the due process clause; it is only a license or privilege,
which can be validly withdrawn whenever dictated by public interest or public welfare as in
this case.
chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

A license is merely a permit or privilege to do what otherwise would be unlawful, and is not a
contract between the authority, federal, state, or municipal, granting it and the person to
whom it is granted; neither is it property or a property right, nor does it create a vested right;
nor is it taxation (37 C.J. 168). Thus, this Court held that the granting of license does not
create irrevocable rights, neither is it property or property rights (People vs. Ong Tin, 54 O.G.
7576).

We reiterated this pronouncement in Felipe Ysmael, Jr. & Co., Inc. vs. Deputy Executive
Secretary: 26

. . . Timber licenses, permits and license agreements are the principal instruments by which
the State regulates the utilization and disposition of forest resources to the end that public
welfare is promoted. And it can hardly be gainsaid that they merely evidence a privilege
granted by the State to qualified entities, and do not vest in the latter a permanent or
irrevocable right to the particular concession area and the forest products therein. They may
be validly amended, modified, replaced or rescinded by the Chief Executive when national
interests so require. Thus, they are not deemed contracts within the purview of the due
process of law clause [See Sections 3(ee) and 20 of Pres. Decree No. 705, as amended. Also,
Tan v. Director of Forestry, G.R. No. L-24548, October 27, 1983, 125 SCRA 302].

Since timber licenses are not contracts, the non-impairment clause, which reads:

Sec. 10. No law impairing, the obligation of contracts shall be passed. 27

cannot be invoked.
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. In Abe vs. Foster Wheeler
Corp. 28this Court stated:

The freedom of contract, under our system of government, is not meant to be absolute. The
same is understood to be subject to reasonable legislative regulation aimed at the promotion
of public health, moral, safety and welfare. In other words, the constitutional guaranty of non-
impairment of obligations of contract is limited by the exercise of the police power of the
State, in the interest of public health, safety, moral and general welfare.

The reason for this is emphatically set forth in Nebia vs. New York, 29quoted in Philippine
American Life Insurance Co. vs. Auditor General, 30 to wit:

Under our form of government the use of property and the making of contracts are normally
matters of private and not of public concern. The general rule is that both shall be free of
governmental interference. But neither property rights nor contract rights are absolute; for
government cannot exist if the citizen may at will use his property to the detriment of his
fellows, or exercise his freedom of contract to work them harm. Equally fundamental with the
private right is that of the public to regulate it in the common interest.

In short, the non-impairment clause must yield to the police power of the state. 31 chanrobles virtual law library

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. chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

WHEREFORE, being impressed with merit, the instant 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. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

No pronouncement as to costs. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

SO ORDERED.

Cruz, Padilla, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Regalado, Romero, Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo and
Quiason, JJ., concur. chanrob lesvirtua lawlibr arychanrob les virtu al la w libra ry

Narvasa, C.J., Puno and Vitug, JJ., took no part.

chanrobles virtual law library


chanrobles virtual law library

Separate Opinions

FELICIANO, J., concurring chanrobles v irtual law library

I join in the result reached by my distinguished brother in the Court, Davide, Jr., J., in this
case which, to my mind, is one of the most important cases decided by this Court in the last
few years. The seminal principles laid down in this decision are likely to influence
profoundly the direction and course of the protection and management of the environment,
which of course embraces the utilization of all the natural resources in the territorial base of
our polity. I have therefore sought to clarify, basically to myself, what the Court appears to be
saying. chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The Court explicitly states that petitioners have the locus standi necessary to sustain the
bringing and, maintenance of this suit (Decision, pp. 11-12). Locus standi is not a function of
petitioners' claim that their suit is properly regarded as a class suit. I understand locus standi
to refer to the legal interest which a plaintiff must have in the subject matter of the suit.
Because of the very broadness of the concept of "class" here involved - membership in this
"class" appears to embrace everyone living in the country whether now or in the
future - it appears to me that everyone who may be expected to benefit from the course of
action petitioners seek to require public respondents to take, is vested with the necessary
locus standi. The Court may be seen therefore to be recognizing a beneficiaries' right of
action in the field of environmental protection, as against both the public administrative
agency directly concerned and the private persons or entities operating in the field or sector
of activity involved. Whether such beneficiaries' right of action may be found under any and
all circumstances, or whether some failure to act, in the first instance, on the part of the
governmental agency concerned must be shown ("prior exhaustion of administrative
remedies"), is not discussed in the decision and presumably is left for future determination in
an appropriate case. chanroblesvir tualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The Court has also declared that the complaint has alleged and focused upon "one specific
fundamental legal right - the right to a balanced and healthful ecology" (Decision, p. 14).
There is no question that "the right to a balanced and healthful ecology" is "fundamental" and
that, accordingly, it has been "constitutionalized." But although it is fundamental in character,
I suggest, with very great respect, that it cannot be characterized as "specific," without doing
excessive violence to language. It is in fact very difficult to fashion language more
comprehensive in scope and generalized in character than a right to "a balanced and healthful
ecology." The list of particular claims which can be subsumed under this rubic appears to be
entirely open-ended: prevention and control of emission of toxic fumes and smoke from
factories and motor vehicles; of discharge of oil, chemical effluents, garbage and raw sewage
into rivers, inland and coastal waters by vessels, oil rigs, factories, mines and whole
communities; of dumping of organic and inorganic wastes on open land, streets and
thoroughfares; failure to rehabilitate land after strip-mining or open-pit mining; kaingin or
slash-and-burn farming; destruction of fisheries, coral reefs and other living sea resources
through the use of dynamite or cyanide and other chemicals; contamination of ground water
resources; loss of certain species of fauna and flora; and so on. The other statements pointed
out by the Court: Section 3, Executive Order No. 192 dated 10 June 1987; Section 1, Title
XIV, Book IV of the 1987 Administrative Code; and P.D. No. 1151, dated 6 June 1977 - all
appear to be formulations of policy, as general and abstract as the constitutional statements of
basic policy in Article II, Section 16 ("the right - to a balanced and healthful ecology") and 15
("the right to health"). chanrob lesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

P.D. No. 1152, also dated 6 June 1977, entitled "The Philippine Environment Code," is, upon
the other hand, a compendious collection of more "specific environment management
policies" and "environment quality standards" (fourth "Whereas" clause, Preamble) relating
to an extremely wide range of topics:

(a) air quality management; chanrobles virtual law library

(b) water quality management; chanrobles virtual law library

(c) land use management; chanrobles virtual law library

(d) natural resources management and conservation embracing: chanrobles v irtual law library

(i) fisheries and aquatic resources; chanrobles v irtual law library

(ii) wild life; chanrobles virtual law library

(iii) forestry and soil conservation; chanrobles virtual law library

(iv) flood control and natural calamities; chanrobles virtual law library

(v) energy development; chanrobles virtual law library

(vi) conservation and utilization of surface and ground water chanrobles v irtual law library

(vii) mineral resources

Two (2) points are worth making in this connection. Firstly, neither petitioners nor the Court
has identified the particular provision or provisions (if any) of the Philippine Environment
Code which give rise to a specific legal right which petitioners are seeking to enforce.
Secondly, the Philippine Environment Code identifies with notable care the particular
government agency charged with the formulation and implementation of guidelines and
programs dealing with each of the headings and sub-headings mentioned above. The
Philippine Environment Code does not, in other words, appear to contemplate action on the
part of private persons who are beneficiaries of implementation of that Code. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

As a matter of logic, by finding petitioners' cause of action as anchored on a legal right


comprised in the constitutional statements above noted, the Court is in effect saying that
Section 15 (and Section 16) of Article II of the Constitution are self-executing and judicially
enforceable even in their present form. The implications of this doctrine will have to be
explored in future cases; those implications are too large and far-reaching in nature even to be
hinted at here. chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

My suggestion is simply that petitioners must, before the trial court, show a more specific
legal right - a right cast in language of a significantly lower order of generality than Article II
(15) of the Constitution - that is or may be violated by the actions, or failures to act, imputed
to the public respondent by petitioners so that the trial court can validly render judgment
granting all or part of the relief prayed for. To my mind, the Court should be understood as
simply saying that such a more specific legal right or rights may well exist in our corpus of
law, considering the general policy principles found in the Constitution and the existence of
the Philippine Environment Code, and that the trial court should have given petitioners an
effective opportunity so to demonstrate, instead of aborting the proceedings on a motion to
dismiss. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

It seems to me important that the legal right which is an essential component of a cause of
action be a specific, operable legal right, rather than a constitutional or statutory policy, for at
least two (2) reasons. One is that unless the legal right claimed to have been violated or
disregarded is given specification in operational terms, defendants may well be unable to
defend themselves intelligently and effectively; in other words, there are due process
dimensions to this matter. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The second is a broader-gauge consideration - where a specific violation of law or applicable


regulation is not alleged or proved, petitioners can be expected to fall back on the expanded
conception of judicial power in the second paragraph of Section 1 of Article VIII of the
Constitution which reads:

Section 1. . . . chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or
not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on
the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. (Emphasis supplied)

When substantive standards as general as "the right to a balanced and healthy ecology" and
"the right to health" are combined with remedial standards as broad ranging as "a grave abuse
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction," the result will be, it is respectfully
submitted, to propel courts into the uncharted ocean of social and economic policy making.
At least in respect of the vast area of environmental protection and management, our courts
have no claim to special technical competence and experience and professional qualification.
Where no specific, operable norms and standards are shown to exist, then the policy making
departments - the legislative and executive departments - must be given a real and effective
opportunity to fashion and promulgate those norms and standards, and to implement them
before the courts should intervene.

My learned brother Davide, Jr., J., rightly insists that the timber companies, whose
concession agreements or TLA's petitioners demand public respondents should cancel, must
be impleaded in the proceedings below. It might be asked that, if petitioners' entitlement to
the relief demanded is not dependent upon proof of breach by the timber companies of one or
more of the specific terms and conditions of their concession agreements (and this, petitioners
implicitly assume), what will those companies litigate about? The answer I suggest is that
they may seek to dispute the existence of the specific legal right petitioners should allege, as
well as the reality of the claimed factual nexus between petitioners' specific legal rights and
the claimed wrongful acts or failures to act of public respondent administrative agency. They
may also controvert the appropriateness of the remedy or remedies demanded by petitioners,
under all the circumstances which exist. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
I vote to grant the Petition for Certiorari because the protection of the environment, including
the forest cover of our territory, is of extreme importance for the country. The doctrines set
out in the Court's decision issued today should, however, be subjected to closer
examination. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Separate Opinions

FELICIANO, J., concurring chanrobles v irtual law library

I join in the result reached by my distinguished brother in the Court, Davide, Jr., J., in this
case which, to my mind, is one of the most important cases decided by this Court in the last
few years. The seminal principles laid down in this decision are likely to influence
profoundly the direction and course of the protection and management of the environment,
which of course embraces the utilization of all the natural resources in the territorial base of
our polity. I have therefore sought to clarify, basically to myself, what the Court appears to be
saying.chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The Court explicitly states that petitioners have the locus standi necessary to sustain the
bringing and, maintenance of this suit (Decision, pp. 11-12). Locus standi is not a function of
petitioners' claim that their suit is properly regarded as a class suit. I understand locus standi
to refer to the legal interest which a plaintiff must have in the subject matter of the suit.
Because of the very broadness of the concept of "class" here involved - membership in this
"class" appears to embrace everyone living in the country whether now or in the
future - it appears to me that everyone who may be expected to benefit from the course of
action petitioners seek to require public respondents to take, is vested with the necessary
locus standi. The Court may be seen therefore to be recognizing a beneficiaries' right of
action in the field of environmental protection, as against both the public administrative
agency directly concerned and the private persons or entities operating in the field or sector
of activity involved. Whether such beneficiaries' right of action may be found under any and
all circumstances, or whether some failure to act, in the first instance, on the part of the
governmental agency concerned must be shown ("prior exhaustion of administrative
remedies"), is not discussed in the decision and presumably is left for future determination in
an appropriate case. chanroblesvir tualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The Court has also declared that the complaint has alleged and focused upon "one specific
fundamental legal right - the right to a balanced and healthful ecology" (Decision, p. 14).
There is no question that "the right to a balanced and healthful ecology" is "fundamental" and
that, accordingly, it has been "constitutionalized." But although it is fundamental in character,
I suggest, with very great respect, that it cannot be characterized as "specific," without doing
excessive violence to language. It is in fact very difficult to fashion language more
comprehensive in scope and generalized in character than a right to "a balanced and healthful
ecology." The list of particular claims which can be subsumed under this rubic appears to be
entirely open-ended: prevention and control of emission of toxic fumes and smoke from
factories and motor vehicles; of discharge of oil, chemical effluents, garbage and raw sewage
into rivers, inland and coastal waters by vessels, oil rigs, factories, mines and whole
communities; of dumping of organic and inorganic wastes on open land, streets and
thoroughfares; failure to rehabilitate land after strip-mining or open-pit mining; kaingin or
slash-and-burn farming; destruction of fisheries, coral reefs and other living sea resources
through the use of dynamite or cyanide and other chemicals; contamination of ground water
resources; loss of certain species of fauna and flora; and so on. The other statements pointed
out by the Court: Section 3, Executive Order No. 192 dated 10 June 1987; Section 1, Title
XIV, Book IV of the 1987 Administrative Code; and P.D. No. 1151, dated 6 June 1977 - all
appear to be formulations of policy, as general and abstract as the constitutional statements of
basic policy in Article II, Section 16 ("the right - to a balanced and healthful ecology") and 15
("the right to health"). chanrob lesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

P.D. No. 1152, also dated 6 June 1977, entitled "The Philippine Environment Code," is, upon
the other hand, a compendious collection of more "specific environment management
policies" and "environment quality standards" (fourth "Whereas" clause, Preamble) relating
to an extremely wide range of topics:

(a) air quality management; chanrobles virtual law library

(b) water quality management; chanrobles virtual law library

(c) land use management; chanrobles virtual law library

(d) natural resources management and conservation embracing: chanrobles v irtual law library

(i) fisheries and aquatic resources; chanrobles v irtual law library

(ii) wild life; chanrobles virtual law library

(iii) forestry and soil conservation; chanrobles virtual law library

(iv) flood control and natural calamities; chanrobles virtual law library

(v) energy development; chanrobles virtual law library

(vi) conservation and utilization of surface and ground water chanrobles v irtual law library

(vii) mineral resources

Two (2) points are worth making in this connection. Firstly, neither petitioners nor the Court
has identified the particular provision or provisions (if any) of the Philippine Environment
Code which give rise to a specific legal right which petitioners are seeking to enforce.
Secondly, the Philippine Environment Code identifies with notable care the particular
government agency charged with the formulation and implementation of guidelines and
programs dealing with each of the headings and sub-headings mentioned above. The
Philippine Environment Code does not, in other words, appear to contemplate action on the
part of private persons who are beneficiaries of implementation of that Code. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

As a matter of logic, by finding petitioners' cause of action as anchored on a legal right


comprised in the constitutional statements above noted, the Court is in effect saying that
Section 15 (and Section 16) of Article II of the Constitution are self-executing and judicially
enforceable even in their present form. The implications of this doctrine will have to be
explored in future cases; those implications are too large and far-reaching in nature even to be
hinted at here. chanroblesv irtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
My suggestion is simply that petitioners must, before the trial court, show a more specific
legal right - a right cast in language of a significantly lower order of generality than Article II
(15) of the Constitution - that is or may be violated by the actions, or failures to act, imputed
to the public respondent by petitioners so that the trial court can validly render judgment
granting all or part of the relief prayed for. To my mind, the Court should be understood as
simply saying that such a more specific legal right or rights may well exist in our corpus of
law, considering the general policy principles found in the Constitution and the existence of
the Philippine Environment Code, and that the trial court should have given petitioners an
effective opportunity so to demonstrate, instead of aborting the proceedings on a motion to
dismiss. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

It seems to me important that the legal right which is an essential component of a cause of
action be a specific, operable legal right, rather than a constitutional or statutory policy, for at
least two (2) reasons. One is that unless the legal right claimed to have been violated or
disregarded is given specification in operational terms, defendants may well be unable to
defend themselves intelligently and effectively; in other words, there are due process
dimensions to this matter. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The second is a broader-gauge consideration - where a specific violation of law or applicable


regulation is not alleged or proved, petitioners can be expected to fall back on the expanded
conception of judicial power in the second paragraph of Section 1 of Article VIII of the
Constitution which reads:

Section 1. . . . chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or
not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on
the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. (Emphasis supplied)

When substantive standards as general as "the right to a balanced and healthy ecology" and
"the right to health" are combined with remedial standards as broad ranging as "a grave abuse
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction," the result will be, it is respectfully
submitted, to propel courts into the uncharted ocean of social and economic policy making.
At least in respect of the vast area of environmental protection and management, our courts
have no claim to special technical competence and experience and professional qualification.
Where no specific, operable norms and standards are shown to exist, then the policy making
departments - the legislative and executive departments - must be given a real and effective
opportunity to fashion and promulgate those norms and standards, and to implement them
before the courts should intervene.

My learned brother Davide, Jr., J., rightly insists that the timber companies, whose
concession agreements or TLA's petitioners demand public respondents should cancel, must
be impleaded in the proceedings below. It might be asked that, if petitioners' entitlement to
the relief demanded is not dependent upon proof of breach by the timber companies of one or
more of the specific terms and conditions of their concession agreements (and this, petitioners
implicitly assume), what will those companies litigate about? The answer I suggest is that
they may seek to dispute the existence of the specific legal right petitioners should allege, as
well as the reality of the claimed factual nexus between petitioners' specific legal rights and
the claimed wrongful acts or failures to act of public respondent administrative agency. They
may also controvert the appropriateness of the remedy or remedies demanded by petitioners,
under all the circumstances which exist. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

I vote to grant the Petition for Certiorari because the protection of the environment, including
the forest cover of our territory, is of extreme importance for the country. The doctrines set
out in the Court's decision issued today should, however, be subjected to closer examination.

Endnotes:

1 Rollo, 164; 186. chanrobles virtual law library

2 Id., 62-65, exclusive of annexes. chanrobles virtual law library

3 Under Section 12, Rule 3, Revised Rules of Court. chanrobles virtual law library

4 Rollo, 67. chanrobles virtual law library

5 Id., 74. chanrobles virtual law library

6 Rollo, 70-73. chanrobles virtual law library

7 Annex "B" of Petitions; Id., 43-44. chanrobles virtual law library

8 Paragraph 7, Petition, 6; Rollo, 20. chanrobles virtual law library

9 Webster's Third New International Dictionary, unabridged, 1986, 1508. chanrobles virtual law library

10 Title XIV (Environment and Natural Resources), Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987, E.O. No. 292. chanrobles virtual law library

11 Annex "B" of Petition; Rollo, 43-44. chanrobles virtual law library

12 Record of the Constitutional Commission, vol. 4, 913. chanrobles virtual law library

13 For instance, the Preamble and Article XII on the National Economy and Patrimony. chanrobles virtual law library

14 The Reorganization Act of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. chanrobles virtual law library

15 E.O. No. 292. chanrobles virtual law library

16 Section 1. chanrobles virtual law library

17 Section 2. chanrobles virtual law library

18 Ma-ao Sugar Central Co. vs. Barrios, 79 Phil. 666 [1947]; Community Investment and Finance Corp. vs. Garcia, 88 Phil. 215 [1951]; Remitere vs.
Vda. de Yulo, 16 SCRA 251 [1966]; Caseas vs. Rosales, 19 SCRA 462 [1967]; Virata vs. Sandiganbayan, 202 SCRA 680 [1991]; Madrona vs.
Rosal, 204 SCRA 1 [1991]. chanrobles virtual law library

19 Section 1(q), Rule 16, Revised Rules of Court. chanrobles virtual law library

20 Adamos vs. J.M. Tuason and Co., Inc. 25 SCRA 529 [1968]; Virata vs. Sandiganbayn, supra; Madrona vs. Rosal, supra. chanrobles virtual law library

21 39 SCRA 473, 479 [1971]. chanrobles virtual law library

22 1991 ed., 226-227. chanrobles virtual law library

23 180 SCRA 496, 501-502 [1989]. See also, Coseteng vs. Mitra, 187 SCRA 377 [1990]; Gonzales vs. Macaraig, 191 SCRA 452 [1990]; Llamas vs.
Orbos, 202 SCRA 844 [1991]; Bengzon vs. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, 203 SCRA 767 [1991]. chanrobles virtual law library
24 Rollo, 44. chanrobles virtual law library

25 125 SCRA 302, 325 [1983]. chanrobles virtual law library

26 190 SCRA 673, 684 [1990]. chanrobles virtual law library

27 Article III, 1987 Constitution. chanrobles virtual law library

28 110 Phil. 198, 203 [1960]; footnotes omitted. chanrobles virtual law library

29 291 U.S. 502, 523, 78 L. ed. 940, 947-949. chanrobles virtual law library

30 22 SCRA 135, 146-147 [1968]. chanrobles virtual law library

31 Ongsiako vs. Gamboa, 86 Phil. 50 [1950]; Abe vs. Foster Wheeler Corp. supra.; Phil. American Life Insurance Co. vs. Auditor General, supra.;
Alalayan vs. NPC, 24 SCRA 172[1968]; Victoriano vs. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union, 59 SCRA 54 [1974]; Kabiling vs. National Housing
Authority, 156 SCRA 623 [1987].

FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. Nos. 120865-71 December 7, 1995

LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS; HON. JUDGE


HERCULANO TECH, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 70, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
BINANGONAN RIZAL; FLEET DEVELOPMENT, INC. and CARLITO ARROYO; THE
MUNICIPALITY OF BINANGONAN and/or MAYOR ISIDRO B. PACIS, Respondents.

LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS; HON. JUDGE


AURELIO C. TRAMPE, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 163, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF PASIG;
MANILA MARINE LIFE BUSINESS RESOURCES, INC. represented by, MR. TOBIAS REYNALD
M. TIANGCO; MUNICIPALITY OF TAGUIG, METRO MANILA and/or MAYOR RICARDO D.
PAPA, JR., Respondents.

LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS; HON. JUDGE


ALEJANDRO A. MARQUEZ, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 79, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
MORONG, RIZAL; GREENFIELD VENTURES INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION and
R. J. ORION DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION; MUNICIPALITY OF JALA-JALA and/or MAYOR
WALFREDO M. DE LA VEGA, Respondents. chanr oble s virtual law li brary

LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS; HON. JUDGE


MANUEL S. PADOLINA, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 162, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
PASIG, METRO MANILA; IRMA FISHING & TRADING CORP.; ARTM FISHING CORP.; BDR
CORPORATION, MIRT CORPORATION and TRIM CORPORATION; MUNICIPALITY OF
BINANGONAN and/or MAYOR ISIDRO B. PACIS, Respondents.

LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS; HON. JUDGE


ARTURO A. MARAVE, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 78, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
MORONG, RIZAL; BLUE LAGOON FISHING CORP. and ALCRIS CHICKEN GROWERS, INC.;
MUNICIPALITY OF JALA-JALA and/or MAYOR WALFREDO M. DE LA VEGA, Respondents.

LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS; HON. JUDGE


ARTURO A. MARAVE, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 78, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
MORONG, RIZAL; AGP FISH VENTURES, INC., represented by its PRESIDENT ALFONSO
PUYAT; MUNICIPALITY OF JALA-JALA and/or MAYOR WALFREDO M. DE LA VEGA,
Respondents.

LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS; HON. JUDGE


EUGENIO S. LABITORIA, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 161, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
PASIG, METRO MANILA; SEA MAR TRADING CO. INC.; EASTERN LAGOON FISHING CORP.;
MINAMAR FISHING CORP.; MUNICIPALITY OF BINANGONAN and/or MAYOR ISIDRO B.
PACIS, Respondents.

HERMOSISIMA, JR., J.:

It is difficult for a man, scavenging on the garbage dump created by affluence and profligate
consumption and extravagance of the rich or fishing in the murky waters of the Pasig River
and the Laguna Lake or making a clearing in the forest so that he can produce food for his
family, to understand why protecting birds, fish, and trees is more important than
protecting him and keeping his family alive. chanrobl esvirtualawlibrarychanr obles virtual law library

How do we strike a balance between environmental protection, on the one hand, and the
individual personal interests of people, on the other? chanrobl es virtual law library

Towards environmental protection and ecology, navigational safety, and sustainable


development, Republic Act No. 4850 created the "Laguna Lake Development Authority."
This Government Agency is supposed to carry out and effectuate the aforesaid declared
policy, so as to accelerate the development and balanced growth of the Laguna Lake area
and the surrounding provinces, cities and towns, in the act clearly named, within the
context of the national and regional plans and policies for social and economic
development. chanroble svirtualawlibrarychanr obles virtual law library

Presidential Decree No. 813 of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos amended certain
sections of Republic Act No. 4850 because of the concern for the rapid expansion of
Metropolitan Manila, the suburbs and the lakeshore towns of Laguna de Bay, combined
with current and prospective uses of the lake for municipal-industrial water supply,
irrigation, fisheries, and the like. Concern on the part of the Government and the general
public over: - the environment impact of development on the water quality and ecology of
the lake and its related river systems; the inflow of polluted water from the Pasig River,
industrial, domestic and agricultural wastes from developed areas around the lake; the
increasing urbanization which induced the deterioration of the lake, since water quality
studies have shown that the lake will deteriorate further if steps are not taken to check the
same; and the floods in Metropolitan Manila area and the lakeshore towns which will
influence the hydraulic system of Laguna de Bay, since any scheme of controlling the floods
will necessarily involve the lake and its river systems, - likewise gave impetus to the creation
of the Authority. chanroble svirtualawlibrarychanr obles virtual law library

Section 1 of Republic Act No. 4850 was amended to read as follows:

Sec. 1. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared to be the national policy to promote, and
accelerate the development and balanced growth of the Laguna Lake area and the
surrounding provinces, cities and towns hereinafter referred to as the region, within the
context of the national and regional plans and policies for social and economic development
and to carry out the development of the Laguna Lake region with due regard and adequate
provisions for environmental management and control, preservation of the quality of
human life and ecological systems, and the prevention of undue ecological disturbances,
deterioration and pollution. 1 chanroble s virtual law library

Special powers of the Authority, pertinent to the issues in this case, include:

Sec. 3. Section 4 of the same Act is hereby further amended by adding thereto seven new
paragraphs to be known as paragraphs (j), (k), (l), (m), (n), (o), and (p) which shall read as
follows:

xxx xxx xxx

(j) The provisions of existing laws to the contrary notwithstanding, to engage in fish
production and other aqua-culture projects in Laguna de Bay and other bodies of water
within its jurisdiction and in pursuance thereof to conduct studies and make experiments,
whenever necessary, with the collaboration and assistance of the Bureau of Fisheries and
Aquatic Resources, with the end in view of improving present techniques and practices.
Provided, that until modified, altered or amended by the procedure provided in the
following sub-paragraph, the present laws, rules and permits or authorizations remain in
force;chanrobles virtual law library

(k) For the purpose of effectively regulating and monitoring activities in Laguna de Bay, the
Authority shall have exclusive jurisdiction to issue new permit for the use of the lake waters
for any projects or activities in or affecting the said lake including navigation, construction,
and operation of fishpens, fish enclosures, fish corrals and the like, and to impose necessary
safeguards for lake quality control and management and to collect necessary fees for said
activities and projects: Provided, That the fees collected for fisheries may be shared
between the Authority and other government agencies and political sub-divisions in such
proportion as may be determined by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation
of the Authority's Board: Provided, further, That the Authority's Board may determine new
areas of fishery development or activities which it may place under the supervision of the
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources taking into account the overall development
plans and programs for Laguna de Bay and related bodies of water: Provided, finally, That
the Authority shall subject to the approval of the President of the Philippines promulgate
such rules and regulations which shall govern fisheries development activities in Laguna de
Bay which shall take into consideration among others the following: socio-economic
amelioration of bonafide resident fishermen whether individually or collectively in the form
of cooperatives, lakeshore town development, a master plan for fishpen construction and
operation, communal fishing ground for lake shore town residents, and preference to lake
shore town residents in hiring laborer for fishery projects; chanrobl es virtual law library

(l) To require the cities and municipalities embraced within the region to pass appropriate
zoning ordinances and other regulatory measures necessary to carry out the objectives of
the Authority and enforce the same with the assistance of the Authority; chanroble s virtual law library

(m) The provisions of existing laws to the contrary notwithstanding, to exercise water rights
over public waters within the Laguna de Bay region whenever necessary to carry out the
Authority's projects;chanrobles virtual law library

(n) To act in coordination with existing governmental agencies in establishing water quality
standards for industrial, agricultural and municipal waste discharges into the lake and to
cooperate with said existing agencies of the government of the Philippines in enforcing such
standards, or to separately pursue enforcement and penalty actions as provided for in
Section 4 (d) and Section 39-A of this Act: Provided, That in case of conflict on the
appropriate water quality standard to be enforced such conflict shall be resolved thru the
NEDA Board. 2

To more effectively perform the role of the Authority under Republic Act No. 4850, as
though Presidential Decree No. 813 were not thought to be completely effective, the Chief
Executive, feeling that the land and waters of the Laguna Lake Region are limited natural
resources requiring judicious management to their optimal utilization to insure renewability
and to preserve the ecological balance, the competing options for the use of such resources
and conflicting jurisdictions over such uses having created undue constraints on the
institutional capabilities of the Authority in the light of the limited powers vested in it by its
charter, Executive Order No. 927 further defined and enlarged the functions and powers of
the Authority and named and enumerated the towns, cities and provinces encompassed by
the term "Laguna de Bay Region". chanroble svirtualawlibrarychanr obles virtual law library

Also, pertinent to the issues in this case are the following provisions of Executive Order No.
927 which include in particular the sharing of fees:

Sec 2. Water Rights Over Laguna de Bay and Other Bodies of Water within the Lake Region:
To effectively regulate and monitor activities in the Laguna de Bay region, the Authority
shall have exclusive jurisdiction to issue permit for the use of all surface water for any
projects or activities in or affecting the said region including navigation, construction, and
operation of fishpens, fish enclosures, fish corrals and the like. chanroble svirtualawlibrarychanr obles virtual law library

For the purpose of this Executive Order, the term "Laguna de Bay Region" shall refer to the
Provinces of Rizal and Laguna; the Cities of San Pablo, Pasay, Caloocan, Quezon, Manila and
Tagaytay; the towns of Tanauan, Sto. Tomas and Malvar in Batangas Province; the towns of
Silang and Carmona in Cavite Province; the town of Lucban in Quezon Province; and the
towns of Marikina, Pasig, Taguig, Muntinlupa, and Pateros in Metro Manila. cha nroble svirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Sec 3. Collection of Fees. The Authority is hereby empowered to collect fees for the use of
the lake water and its tributaries for all beneficial purposes including but not limited to
fisheries, recreation, municipal, industrial, agricultural, navigation, irrigation, and waste
disposal purpose; Provided, that the rates of the fees to be collected, and the sharing with
other government agencies and political subdivisions, if necessary, shall be subject to the
approval of the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of the Authority's Board,
except fishpen fee, which will be shared in the following manner; 20 percent of the fee shall
go to the lakeshore local governments, 5 percent shall go to the Project Development Fund
which shall be administered by a Council and the remaining 75 percent shall constitute the
share of LLDA. However, after the implementation within the three-year period of the
Laguna Lake Fishery Zoning and Management Plan, the sharing will be modified as follows:
35 percent of the fishpen fee goes to the lakeshore local governments, 5 percent goes to the
Project Development Fund and the remaining 60 percent shall be retained by LLDA;
Provided, however, that the share of LLDA shall form part of its corporate funds and shall
not be remitted to the National Treasury as an exception to the provisions of Presidential
Decree No. 1234. (Emphasis supplied)

It is important to note that Section 29 of Presidential Decree No. 813 defined the term
"Laguna Lake" in this manner:

Sec 41. Definition of Terms. cha nroble svirtualawlibrarychanr obles virtual law library

(11) Laguna Lake or Lake. Whenever Laguna Lake or lake is used in this Act, the same shall
refer to Laguna de Bay which is that area covered by the lake water when it is at the average
annual maximum lake level of elevation 12.50 meters, as referred to a datum 10.00 meters
below mean lower low water (M.L.L.W). Lands located at and below such elevation are
public lands which form part of the bed of said lake.

Then came Republic Act No. 7160, the Local Government Code of 1991. The municipalities
in the Laguna Lake Region interpreted the provisions of this law to mean that the newly
passed law gave municipal governments the exclusive jurisdiction to issue fishing privileges
within their municipal waters because R.A. 7160 provides:

Sec. 149. Fishery Rentals, Fees and Charges. chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

(a) Municipalities shall have the exclusive authority to grant fishery privileges in the
municipal waters and impose rental fees or charges therefor in accordance with the
provisions of this Section.
cha nroble svirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

(b) The Sangguniang Bayan may:

(1) Grant fishing privileges to erect fish corrals, oyster, mussel or other aquatic beds or
bangus fry areas, within a definite zone of the municipal waters, as determined by it; . . . .
virtual law library
chanroble svirtualawlibrarychanr obles

(2) Grant privilege to gather, take or catch bangus fry, prawn fry or kawag-kawag or fry of
other species and fish from the municipal waters by nets, traps or other fishing gears to
marginal fishermen free from any rental fee, charges or any other imposition whatsoever.
xxx xxx xxx chanrobles virtual law library

Sec. 447. Power, Duties, Functions and Compensation. . . . .

xxx xxx xxx

(XI) Subject to the provisions of Book II of this Code, grant exclusive privileges of
constructing fish corrals or fishpens, or the taking or catching of bangus fry, prawn fry or
kawag-kawag or fry of any species or fish within the municipal waters.

xxx xxx xxx

Municipal governments thereupon assumed the authority to issue fishing privileges and
fishpen permits. Big fishpen operators took advantage of the occasion to establish fishpens
and fishcages to the consternation of the Authority. Unregulated fishpens and fishcages, as
of July, 1995, occupied almost one-third of the entire lake water surface area, increasing the
occupation drastically from 7,000 hectares in 1990 to almost 21,000 hectares in 1995. The
Mayor's permit to construct fishpens and fishcages were all undertaken in violation of the
policies adopted by the Authority on fishpen zoning and the Laguna Lake carrying
capacity.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarycha nrobles virtual law library

To be sure, the implementation by the lakeshore municipalities of separate independent


policies in the operation of fishpens and fishcages within their claimed territorial municipal
waters in the lake and their indiscriminate grant of fishpen permits have already saturated
the lake area with fishpens, thereby aggravating the current environmental problems and
ecological stress of Laguna Lake. chanroble svirtualawlibrarychanr obles virtual law library

In view of the foregoing circumstances, the Authority served notice to the general public
that:

In compliance with the instructions of His Excellency PRESIDENT FIDEL V. RAMOS given on
June 23, 1993 at Pila, Laguna pursuant to Republic Act 4850 as amended by Presidential
Decree 813 and Executive Order 927 series of 1983 and in line with the policies and
programs of the Presidential Task Force on Illegal Fishpens and Illegal Fishing, the general
public is hereby notified that: chanrobles virtual law library

1. All fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures in the Laguna de Bay Region,
which were not registered or to which no application for registration and/or permit has
been filed with Laguna Lake Development Authority as of March 31, 1993 are hereby
declared outrightly as illegal. chanr oblesvirtualawlibrarycha nrobles virtual law library

2. All fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures so declared as illegal shall be
subject to demolition which shall be undertaken by the Presidential Task Force for Illegal
Fishpen and Illegal Fishing. cha nroble svirtualawlibrarychanr obles virtual law library

3. Owners of fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures declared as illegal shall,
without prejudice to demolition of their structures be criminally charged in accordance with
Section 39-A of Republic Act 4850 as amended by P.D. 813 for violation of the same laws.
Violations of these laws carries a penalty of imprisonment of not exceeding 3 years or a fine
not exceeding Five Thousand Pesos or both at the discretion of the court. chanr oblesvirtualawlibrarycha nroble s virtual law library

All operators of fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures declared as illegal in
accordance with the foregoing Notice shall have one (1) month on or before 27 October
1993 to show cause before the LLDA why their said fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-
culture structures should not be demolished/dismantled.

One month, thereafter, the Authority sent notices to the concerned owners of the illegally
constructed fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures advising them to
dismantle their respective structures within 10 days from receipt thereof, otherwise,
demolition shall be effected. chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Reacting thereto, the affected fishpen owners filed injunction cases against the Authority
before various regional trial courts, to wit: (a) Civil Case No. 759-B, for Prohibition,
Injunction and Damages, Regional Trial Court, Branch 70, Binangonan, Rizal, filed by Fleet
Development, Inc. and Carlito Arroyo; (b) Civil Case No. 64049, for Injunction, Regional Trial
Court, Branch 162, Pasig, filed by IRMA Fishing and Trading Corp., ARTM Fishing Corp., BDR
Corp., MIRT Corp. and TRIM Corp.; (c) Civil Case No. 566, for Declaratory Relief and
Injunction, Regional Trial Court, Branch 163, Pasig, filed by Manila Marine Life Business
Resources, Inc. and Tobias Reynaldo M. Tianco; (d) Civil Case No. 556-M, for Prohibition,
Injunction and Damages, Regional Trial Court, Branch 78, Morong, Rizal, filed by AGP Fishing
Ventures, Inc.; (e) Civil Case No. 522-M, for Prohibition, Injunction and Damages, Regional
Trial Court, Branch 78, Morong, Rizal, filed by Blue Lagoon and Alcris Chicken Growers, Inc.;
(f) Civil Case No. 554-, for Certiorari and Prohibition, Regional Trial Court, Branch 79,
Morong, Rizal, filed by Greenfields Ventures Industrial Corp. and R.J. Orion Development
Corp.; and (g) Civil Case No. 64124, for Injunction, Regional Trial Court, Branch 15, Pasig,
filed by SEA-MAR Trading Co., Inc. and Eastern Lagoon Fishing Corp. and Minamar Fishing
Corporation. chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The Authority filed motions to dismiss the cases against it on jurisdictional grounds. The
motions to dismiss were invariably denied. Meanwhile, temporary restraining order/writs of
preliminary mandatory injunction were issued in Civil Cases Nos. 64124, 759 and 566
enjoining the Authority from demolishing the fishpens and similar structures in question.
law library
chanrobl esvirtualawlibrarychanr obles virtual

Hence, the herein petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction, G.R. Nos. 120865-71,
were filed by the Authority with this court. Impleaded as parties-respondents are concerned
regional trial courts and respective private parties, and the municipalities and/or respective
Mayors of Binangonan, Taguig and Jala-jala, who issued permits for the construction and
operation of fishpens in Laguna de Bay. The Authority sought the following reliefs, viz.:

(A) Nullification of the temporary restraining order/writs of preliminary injunction issued in


Civil Cases Nos. 64125, 759 and 566; chanroble s virtual law library

(B) Permanent prohibition against the regional trial courts from exercising jurisdiction over
cases involving the Authority which is a co-equal body; chanrobles virtual law library
(C) Judicial pronouncement that R.A. 7610 (Local Government Code of 1991) did not repeal,
alter or modify the provisions of R.A. 4850, as amended, empowering the Authority to issue
permits for fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures in Laguna de Bay and that,
the Authority the government agency vested with exclusive authority to issue said permits.

By this Court's resolution of May 2, 1994, the Authority's consolidated petitions were
referred to the Court of Appeals. chanroblesvirtualawlibrarycha nrobles virtual law library

In a Decision, dated June 29, 1995, the Court of Appeals dismissed the Authority's
consolidated petitions, the Court of Appeals holding that: (A) LLDA is not among those
quasi-judicial agencies of government whose decision or order are appealable only to the
Court of Appeals; (B) the LLDA charter does vest LLDA with quasi-judicial functions insofar as
fishpens are concerned; (C) the provisions of the LLDA charter insofar as fishing privileges in
Laguna de Bay are concerned had been repealed by the Local Government Code of 1991; (D)
in view of the aforesaid repeal, the power to grant permits devolved to and is now vested
with their respective local government units concerned. chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Not satisfied with the Court of Appeals decision, the Authority has returned to this Court
charging the following errors:

1. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS PROBABLY COMMITTED AN ERROR WHEN IT RULED


THAT THE LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY IS NOT A QUASI-JUDICIAL AGENCY.
library
chanroblesvirtualawlibrarycha nroble s virtual law

2. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR WHEN IT RULED THAT
R.A. 4850 AS AMENDED BY P.D. 813 AND E.O. 927 SERIES OF 1983 HAS BEEN REPEALED BY
REPUBLIC ACT 7160. THE SAID RULING IS CONTRARY TO ESTABLISHED PRINCIPLES AND
JURISPRUDENCE OF STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION. cha nroble svirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

3. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR WHEN IT RULED THAT
THE POWER TO ISSUE FISHPEN PERMITS IN LAGUNA DE BAY HAS BEEN DEVOLVED TO
CONCERNED (LAKESHORE) LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS.

We take a simplistic view of the controversy. Actually, the main and only issue posed is:
Which agency of the Government - the Laguna Lake Development Authority or the towns
and municipalities comprising the region - should exercise jurisdiction over the Laguna Lake
and its environs insofar as the issuance of permits for fishery privileges is concerned? chanroble s virtual law library

Section 4 (k) of the charter of the Laguna Lake Development Authority, Republic Act No.
4850, the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 813, and Section 2 of Executive Order No.
927, cited above, specifically provide that the Laguna Lake Development Authority shall
have exclusive jurisdiction to issue permits for the use of all surface water for any projects
or activities in or affecting the said region, including navigation, construction, and operation
of fishpens, fish enclosures, fish corrals and the like. On the other hand, Republic Act No.
7160, the Local Government Code of 1991, has granted to the municipalities the exclusive
authority to grant fishery privileges in municipal waters. The Sangguniang Bayan may grant
fishery privileges to erect fish corrals, oyster, mussels or other aquatic beds or bangus fry
area within a definite zone of the municipal waters. chanr oblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
We hold that the provisions of Republic Act No. 7160 do not necessarily repeal the
aforementioned laws creating the Laguna Lake Development Authority and granting the
latter water rights authority over Laguna de Bay and the lake region. chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The Local Government Code of 1991 does not contain any express provision which
categorically expressly repeal the charter of the Authority. It has to be conceded that there
was no intent on the part of the legislature to repeal Republic Act No. 4850 and its
amendments. The repeal of laws should be made clear and expressed. chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

It has to be conceded that the charter of the Laguna Lake Development Authority
constitutes a special law. Republic Act No. 7160, the Local Government Code of 1991, is a
general law. It is basic in statutory construction that the enactment of a later legislation
which is a general law cannot be construed to have repealed a special law. It is a well-settled
rule in this jurisdiction that "a special statute, provided for a particular case or class of cases,
is not repealed by a subsequent statute, general in its terms, provisions and application,
unless the intent to repeal or alter is manifest, although the terms of the general law are
broad enough to include the cases embraced in the special law." 3

Where there is a conflict between a general law and a special statute, the special statute
should prevail since it evinces the legislative intent more clearly than the general statute.
The special law is to be taken as an exception to the general law in the absence of special
circumstances forcing a contrary conclusion. This is because implied repeals are not favored
and as much as possible, effect must be given to all enactments of the legislature. A special
law cannot be repealed, amended or altered by a subsequent general law by mere
implication. 4

Thus, it has to be concluded that the charter of the Authority should prevail over the Local
Government Code of 1991. chanroblesvirtualawlibrarycha nroble s virtual law library

Considering the reasons behind the establishment of the Authority, which are
environmental protection, navigational safety, and sustainable development, there is every
indication that the legislative intent is for the Authority to proceed with its mission. chanroble svirtualawlibrarychanr obles virtual law library

We are on all fours with the manifestation of petitioner Laguna Lake Development Authority
that "Laguna de Bay, like any other single body of water has its own unique natural
ecosystem. The 900 km lake surface water, the eight (8) major river tributaries and
several other smaller rivers that drain into the lake, the 2,920 km basin or watershed
transcending the boundaries of Laguna and Rizal provinces, greater portion of Metro
Manila, parts of Cavite, Batangas, and Quezon provinces, constitute one integrated delicate
natural ecosystem that needs to be protected with uniform set of policies; if we are to be
serious in our aims of attaining sustainable development. This is an exhaustible natural
resource - a very limited one - which requires judicious management and optimal utilization
to ensure renewability and preserve its ecological integrity and balance." chanroble s virtual law library

"Managing the lake resources would mean the implementation of a national policy geared
towards the protection, conservation, balanced growth and sustainable development of the
region with due regard to the inter-generational use of its resources by the inhabitants in
this part of the earth. The authors of Republic Act 4850 have foreseen this need when they
passed this LLDA law - the special law designed to govern the management of our Laguna de
Bay lake resources." chanroble s virtual law library

"Laguna de Bay therefore cannot be subjected to fragmented concepts of management


policies where lakeshore local government units exercise exclusive dominion over specific
portions of the lake water. The garbage thrown or sewage discharged into the lake,
abstraction of water therefrom or construction of fishpens by enclosing its certain area,
affect not only that specific portion but the entire 900 km of lake water. The
implementation of a cohesive and integrated lake water resource management policy,
therefore, is necessary to conserve, protect and sustainably develop Laguna de Bay." 5

The power of the local government units to issue fishing privileges was clearly granted for
revenue purposes. This is evident from the fact that Section 149 of the New Local
Government Code empowering local governments to issue fishing permits is embodied in
Chapter 2, Book II, of Republic Act No. 7160 under the heading, "Specific Provisions On The
Taxing And Other Revenue Raising Power Of Local Government Units." chanrobles virtual law library

On the other hand, the power of the Authority to grant permits for fishpens, fishcages and
other aqua-culture structures is for the purpose of effectively regulating and monitoring
activities in the Laguna de Bay region (Section 2, Executive Order No. 927) and for lake
quality control and management. 6It does partake of the nature of police power which is the
most pervasive, the least limitable and the most demanding of all State powers including
the power of taxation. Accordingly, the charter of the Authority which embodies a valid
exercise of police power should prevail over the Local Government Code of 1991 on matters
affecting Laguna de Bay. chanr obl esvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

There should be no quarrel over permit fees for fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture
structures in the Laguna de Bay area. Section 3 of Executive Order No. 927 provides for the
proper sharing of fees collected. chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

In respect to the question as to whether the Authority is a quasi-judicial agency or not, it is


our holding that, considering the provisions of Section 4 of Republic Act No. 4850 and
Section 4 of Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983, and the ruling of this Court in Laguna
Lake Development Authority vs. Court of Appeals, 231 SCRA 304, 306, which we quote:

xxx xxx xxx chanr obles virtual law library

As a general rule, the adjudication of pollution cases generally pertains to the Pollution
Adjudication Board (PAB), except in cases where the special law provides for another forum.
It must be recognized in this regard that the LLDA, as a specialized administrative agency, is
specifically mandated under Republic Act No. 4850 and its amendatory laws to carry out and
make effective the declared national policy of promoting and accelerating the development
and balanced growth of the Laguna Lake area and the surrounding provinces of Rizal and
Laguna and the cities of San Pablo, Manila, Pasay, Quezon and Caloocan with due regard
and adequate provisions for environmental management and control, preservation of the
quality of human life and ecological systems, and the prevention of undue ecological
disturbances, deterioration and pollution. Under such a broad grant of power and authority,
the LLDA, by virtue of its special charter, obviously has the responsibility to protect the
inhabitants of the Laguna Lake region from the deleterious effects of pollutants emanating
from the discharge of wastes from the surrounding areas. In carrying out the
aforementioned declared policy, the LLDA is mandated, among others, to pass upon and
approve or disapprove all plans, programs, and projects proposed by local government
offices/agencies within the region, public corporations, and private persons or enterprises
where such plans, programs and/or projects are related to those of the LLDA for the
development of the region.

xxx xxx xxx chanr obles virtual law library

. . . . While it is a fundamental rule that an administrative agency has only such powers as
are expressly granted to it by law, it is likewise a settled rule that an administrative agency
has also such powers as are necessarily implied in the exercise of its express powers. In the
exercise, therefore, of its express powers under its charter, as a regulatory and quasi-judicial
body with respect to pollution cases in the Laguna Lake region, the authority of the LLDA to
issue a "cease and desist order" is, perforce, implied. Otherwise, it may well be reduced to a
"toothless" paper agency.

there is no question that the Authority has express powers as a regulatory and quasi-judicial
body in respect to pollution cases with authority to issue a "cease and desist order" and on
matters affecting the construction of illegal fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture
structures in Laguna de Bay. The Authority's pretense, however, that it is co-equal to the
Regional Trial Courts such that all actions against it may only be instituted before the Court
of Appeals cannot be sustained. On actions necessitating the resolution of legal questions
affecting the powers of the Authority as provided for in its charter, the Regional Trial Courts
have jurisdiction.

In view of the foregoing, this Court holds that Section 149 of Republic Act No. 7160,
otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, has not repealed the provisions of
the charter of the Laguna Lake Development Authority, Republic Act No. 4850, as amended.
Thus, the Authority has the exclusive jurisdiction to issue permits for the enjoyment of
fishery privileges in Laguna de Bay to the exclusion of municipalities situated therein and the
authority to exercise such powers as are by its charter vested on it. chanrobl esvirtualawlibrarychanr obles virtual law library

Removal from the Authority of the aforesaid licensing authority will render nugatory its
avowed purpose of protecting and developing the Laguna Lake Region. Otherwise stated,
the abrogation of this power would render useless its reason for being and will in effect
denigrate, if not abolish, the Laguna Lake Development Authority. This, the Local
Government Code of 1991 had never intended to do. chanroblesvirtualawlibrarycha nrobl es virtual law library

WHEREFORE, the petitions for prohibition, certiorari and injunction are hereby granted,
insofar as they relate to the authority of the Laguna Lake Development Authority to grant
fishing privileges within the Laguna Lake Region. chanroblesvirtualawli brarychanr obles virtual law library
The restraining orders and/or writs of injunction issued by Judge Arturo Marave, RTC,
Branch 78, Morong, Rizal; Judge Herculano Tech, RTC, Branch 70, Binangonan, Rizal; and
Judge Aurelio Trampe, RTC, Branch 163, Pasig, Metro Manila, are hereby declared null and
void and ordered set aside for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion. chanroblesvirtualawlibrarycha nrobles virtual law library

The Municipal Mayors of the Laguna Lake Region are hereby prohibited from issuing permits
to construct and operate fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures within the
Laguna Lake Region, their previous issuances being declared null and void. Thus, the fishing
permits issued by Mayors Isidro B. Pacis, Municipality of Binangonan; Ricardo D. Papa,
Municipality of Taguig; and Walfredo M. de la Vega, Municipality of Jala-jala, specifically, are
likewise declared null and void and ordered cancelled. chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures put up by operators by virtue of
permits issued by Municipal Mayors within the Laguna Lake Region, specifically, permits
issued to Fleet Development, Inc. and Carlito Arroyo; Manila Marine Life Business
Resources, Inc., represented by, Mr. Tobias Reynald M. Tiangco; Greenfield Ventures
Industrial Development Corporation and R.J. Orion Development Corporation; IRMA Fishing
And Trading Corporation, ARTM Fishing Corporation, BDR Corporation, Mirt Corporation
and Trim Corporation; Blue Lagoon Fishing Corporation and ALCRIS Chicken Growers, Inc.;
AGP Fish Ventures, Inc., represented by its President Alfonso Puyat; SEA MAR Trading Co.,
Inc., Eastern Lagoon Fishing Corporation, and MINAMAR Fishing Corporation, are hereby
declared illegal structures subject to demolition by the Laguna Lake Development
Authority.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., Bellosillo and Kapunan, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

PADILLA, J., concurring: chanrobles virtual law library

I fully concur with the decision written by Mr. Justice R. Hermosisima, Jr.. I would only like to
stress what the decision already states, i.e., that the local government units in the Laguna
Lake area are not precluded from imposing permits on fishery operations for revenue raising
purposes of such local government units. In other words, while the exclusive jurisdiction to
determine whether or not projects or activities in the lake area should be allowed, as well as
their regulation, is with the Laguna Lake Development Authority, once the Authority grants
a permit, the permittee may still be subjected to an additional local permit or license for
revenue purposes of the local government units concerned. This approach would clearly
harmonize the special law, Rep. Act No. 4850, as amended, with Rep. Act No. 7160, the
Local Government Code. It will also enable small towns and municipalities in the lake area,
like Jala-Jala, to rise to some level of economic viability.

Separate Opinions

PADILLA, J., concurring: chanrobles virtual law library


I fully concur with the decision written by Mr. Justice R. Hermosisima, Jr.. I would only like to
stress what the decision already states, i.e., that the local government units in the Laguna
Lake area are not precluded from imposing permits on fishery operations for revenue raising
purposes of such local government units. In other words, while the exclusive jurisdiction to
determine whether or not projects or activities in the lake area should be allowed, as well as
their regulation, is with the Laguna Lake Development Authority, once the Authority grants
a permit, the permittee may still be subjected to an additional local permit or license for
revenue purposes of the local government units concerned. This approach would clearly
harmonize the special law, Rep. Act No. 4850, as amended, with Rep. Act No. 7160, the
Local Government Code. It will also enable small towns and municipalities in the lake area,
like Jala-Jala, to rise to some level of economic viability.

Endnotes:

1 Section 1, PD No. 813. chanrobles virtual law library

2 At pages 64-65. chanrobles virtual law library

3 Manila Railroad Company vs. Rafferty, 40 Phils. 225; National Power Corporation vs. Arca, 25 SCRA 935; Province of Misamis Oriental vs. Cagayan
Electric Power and Light Company, Inc., 181 SCRA 43. chanrobles virtual law library

4 Fajardo vs. Villafuerte, G.R. No. 89135, December 21, 1989. chanrobles virtual law library

5 Petition, under caption, "Nature of Petition". chanr obles virtual law library

6 Section 3 (k), Presidential Decree No. 813.

EN BANC

[G.R. NOS. 171947-48 : December 18, 2008]

METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT


AND NATURAL RESOURCES, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, CULTURE AND SPORTS,1
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC
WORKS AND HIGHWAYS, DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, PHILIPPINE
COAST GUARD, PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE MARITIME GROUP, and DEPARTMENT OF
THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, Petitioners, v. CONCERNED RESIDENTS OF
MANILA BAY, represented and joined by DIVINA V. ILAS, SABINIANO ALBARRACIN,
MANUEL SANTOS, JR., DINAH DELA PEA, PAUL DENNIS QUINTERO, MA. VICTORIA
LLENOS, DONNA CALOZA, FATIMA QUITAIN, VENICE SEGARRA, FRITZIE TANGKIA, SARAH
JOELLE LINTAG, HANNIBAL AUGUSTUS BOBIS, FELIMON SANTIAGUEL, and JAIME AGUSTIN
R. OPOSA, Respondents.

DECISION

VELASCO, JR., J.:

The need to address environmental pollution, as a cause of climate change, has of late
gained the attention of the international community. Media have finally trained their sights
on the ill effects of pollution, the destruction of forests and other critical habitats, oil spills,
and the unabated improper disposal of garbage. And rightly so, for the magnitude of
environmental destruction is now on a scale few ever foresaw and the wound no longer
simply heals by itself.2 But amidst hard evidence and clear signs of a climate crisis that need
bold action, the voice of cynicism, naysayers, and procrastinators can still be heard.

This case turns on government agencies and their officers who, by the nature of their
respective offices or by direct statutory command, are tasked to protect and preserve, at
the first instance, our internal waters, rivers, shores, and seas polluted by human activities.
To most of these agencies and their official complement, the pollution menace does not
seem to carry the high national priority it deserves, if their track records are to be the norm.
Their cavalier attitude towards solving, if not mitigating, the environmental pollution
problem, is a sad commentary on bureaucratic efficiency and commitment.

At the core of the case is the Manila Bay, a place with a proud historic past, once brimming
with marine life and, for so many decades in the past, a spot for different contact recreation
activities, but now a dirty and slowly dying expanse mainly because of the abject official
indifference of people and institutions that could have otherwise made a difference.

This case started when, on January 29, 1999, respondents Concerned Residents of Manila
Bay filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Imus, Cavite against several
government agencies, among them the petitioners, for the cleanup, rehabilitation, and
protection of the Manila Bay. Raffled to Branch 20 and docketed as Civil Case No. 1851-99 of
the RTC, the complaint alleged that the water quality of the Manila Bay had fallen way
below the allowable standards set by law, specifically Presidential Decree No. (PD) 1152 or
the Philippine Environment Code. This environmental aberration, the complaint stated,
stemmed from:

x x x [The] reckless, wholesale, accumulated and ongoing acts of omission or commission [of
the defendants] resulting in the clear and present danger to public health and in the
depletion and contamination of the marine life of Manila Bay, [for which reason] ALL
defendants must be held jointly and/or solidarily liable and be collectively ordered to clean
up Manila Bay and to restore its water quality to class B waters fit for swimming, skin-diving,
and other forms of contact recreation.3
In their individual causes of action, respondents alleged that the continued neglect of
petitioners in abating the pollution of the Manila Bay constitutes a violation of, among
others:

(1) Respondents' constitutional right to life, health, and a balanced ecology;

(2) The Environment Code (PD 1152);

(3) The Pollution Control Law (PD 984);

(4) The Water Code (PD 1067);

(5) The Sanitation Code (PD 856);

(6) The Illegal Disposal of Wastes Decree (PD 825);

(7) The Marine Pollution Law (PD 979);

(8) Executive Order No. 192;

(9) The Toxic and Hazardous Wastes Law (Republic Act No. 6969);

(10) Civil Code provisions on nuisance and human relations;

(11) The Trust Doctrine and the Principle of Guardianship; and cralawlibrary

(12) International Law

Inter alia, respondents, as plaintiffs a quo, prayed that petitioners be ordered to clean the
Manila Bay and submit to the RTC a concerted concrete plan of action for the purpose.

The trial of the case started off with a hearing at the Manila Yacht Club followed by an
ocular inspection of the Manila Bay. Renato T. Cruz, the Chief of the Water Quality
Management Section, Environmental Management Bureau, Department of Environment
and Natural Resources (DENR), testifying for petitioners, stated that water samples collected
from different beaches around the Manila Bay showed that the amount of fecal coliform
content ranged from 50,000 to 80,000 most probable number (MPN)/ml when what DENR
Administrative Order No. 34-90 prescribed as a safe level for bathing and other forms of
contact recreational activities, or the "SB" level, is one not exceeding 200 MPN/100 ml. 4

Rebecca de Vera, for Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and in behalf
of other petitioners, testified about the MWSS' efforts to reduce pollution along the Manila
Bay through the Manila Second Sewerage Project. For its part, the Philippine Ports Authority
(PPA) presented, as part of its evidence, its memorandum circulars on the study being
conducted on ship-generated waste treatment and disposal, and its Linis Dagat (Clean the
Ocean) project for the cleaning of wastes accumulated or washed to shore.

The RTC Ordered Petitioners to Clean Up and Rehabilitate Manila Bay


On September 13, 2002, the RTC rendered a Decision 5 in favor of respondents. The
dispositive portion reads:

WHEREFORE, finding merit in the complaint, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the
abovenamed defendant-government agencies, jointly and solidarily, to clean up and
rehabilitate Manila Bay and restore its waters to SB classification to make it fit for
swimming, skin-diving and other forms of contact recreation. To attain this, defendant-
agencies, with defendant DENR as the lead agency, are directed, within six (6) months from
receipt hereof, to act and perform their respective duties by devising a consolidated,
coordinated and concerted scheme of action for the rehabilitation and restoration of the
bay.

In particular:

Defendant MWSS is directed to install, operate and maintain adequate [sewerage]


treatment facilities in strategic places under its jurisdiction and increase their capacities.

Defendant LWUA, to see to it that the water districts under its wings, provide, construct and
operate sewage facilities for the proper disposal of waste.

Defendant DENR, which is the lead agency in cleaning up Manila Bay, to install, operate and
maintain waste facilities to rid the bay of toxic and hazardous substances.

Defendant PPA, to prevent and also to treat the discharge not only of ship-generated wastes
but also of other solid and liquid wastes from docking vessels that contribute to the
pollution of the bay.

Defendant MMDA, to establish, operate and maintain an adequate and appropriate sanitary
landfill and/or adequate solid waste and liquid disposal as well as other alternative garbage
disposal system such as re-use or recycling of wastes.

Defendant DA, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, to revitalize the
marine life in Manila Bay and restock its waters with indigenous fish and other aquatic
animals.

Defendant DBM, to provide and set aside an adequate budget solely for the purpose of
cleaning up and rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

Defendant DPWH, to remove and demolish structures and other nuisances that obstruct the
free flow of waters to the bay. These nuisances discharge solid and liquid wastes which
eventually end up in Manila Bay. As the construction and engineering arm of the
government, DPWH is ordered to actively participate in removing debris, such as carcass of
sunken vessels, and other non-biodegradable garbage in the bay.

Defendant DOH, to closely supervise and monitor the operations of septic and sludge
companies and require them to have proper facilities for the treatment and disposal of fecal
sludge and sewage coming from septic tanks.
Defendant DECS, to inculcate in the minds and hearts of the people through education the
importance of preserving and protecting the environment.

Defendant Philippine Coast Guard and the PNP Maritime Group, to protect at all costs the
Manila Bay from all forms of illegal fishing.

No pronouncement as to damages and costs.

SO ORDERED.

The MWSS, Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), and PPA filed before the Court of
Appeals (CA) individual Notices of Appeal which were eventually consolidated and docketed
as CA-G.R. CV No. 76528.

On the other hand, the DENR, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH),
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG),
Philippine National Police (PNP) Maritime Group, and five other executive departments and
agencies filed directly with this Court a Petition for Review under Rule 45. The Court, in a
Resolution of December 9, 2002, sent the said petition to the CA for consolidation with the
consolidated appeals of MWSS, LWUA, and PPA, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 74944.

Petitioners, before the CA, were one in arguing in the main that the pertinent provisions of
the Environment Code (PD 1152) relate only to the cleaning of specific pollution incidents
and do not cover cleaning in general. And apart from raising concerns about the lack of
funds appropriated for cleaning purposes, petitioners also asserted that the cleaning of the
Manila Bay is not a ministerial act which can be compelled by mandamus .

The CA Sustained the RTC

By a Decision6 of September 28, 2005, the CA denied petitioners' appeal and affirmed the
Decision of the RTC in toto, stressing that the trial court's decision did not require
petitioners to do tasks outside of their usual basic functions under existing laws. 7

Petitioners are now before this Court praying for the allowance of their Rule 45 petition on
the following ground and supporting arguments:

THE [CA] DECIDED A QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE NOT HERETOFORE PASSED UPON BY THE
HONORABLE COURT, I.E., IT AFFIRMED THE TRIAL COURT'S DECISION DECLARING THAT
SECTION 20 OF [PD] 1152 REQUIRES CONCERNED GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO REMOVE ALL
POLLUTANTS SPILLED AND DISCHARGED IN THE WATER SUCH AS FECAL COLIFORMS.

ARGUMENTS

[SECTIONS] 17 AND 20 OF [PD] 1152 RELATE ONLY TO THE CLEANING OF SPECIFIC


POLLUTION INCIDENTS AND [DO] NOT COVER CLEANING IN GENERAL
II

THE CLEANING OR REHABILITATION OF THE MANILA BAY IS NOT A MINISTERIAL ACT OF


PETITIONERS THAT CAN BE COMPELLED BY MANDAMUS.

The issues before us are two-fold. First, do Sections 17 and 20 of PD 1152 under the
headings, Upgrading of Water Quality and Clean-up Operations, envisage a cleanup in
general or are they limited only to the cleanup of specific pollution incidents? And second,
can petitioners be compelled by mandamus to clean up and rehabilitate the Manila Bay? cra lawlibrary

On August 12, 2008, the Court conducted and heard the parties on oral arguments.

Our Ruling

We shall first dwell on the propriety of the issuance of mandamus under the premises.

The Cleaning or Rehabilitation of Manila Bay


Can be Compelled by Mandamus

Generally, the writ of mandamus lies to require the execution of a ministerial duty.8 A
ministerial duty is one that "requires neither the exercise of official discretion nor
judgment."9 It connotes an act in which nothing is left to the discretion of the person
executing it. It is a "simple, definite duty arising under conditions admitted or proved to
exist and imposed by law."10 Mandamus is available to compel action, when refused, on
matters involving discretion, but not to direct the exercise of judgment or discretion one
way or the other.

Petitioners maintain that the MMDA's duty to take measures and maintain adequate solid
waste and liquid disposal systems necessarily involves policy evaluation and the exercise of
judgment on the part of the agency concerned. They argue that the MMDA, in carrying out
its mandate, has to make decisions, including choosing where a landfill should be located by
undertaking feasibility studies and cost estimates, all of which entail the exercise of
discretion.

Respondents, on the other hand, counter that the statutory command is clear and that
petitioners' duty to comply with and act according to the clear mandate of the law does not
require the exercise of discretion. According to respondents, petitioners, the MMDA in
particular, are without discretion, for example, to choose which bodies of water they are to
clean up, or which discharge or spill they are to contain. By the same token, respondents
maintain that petitioners are bereft of discretion on whether or not to alleviate the problem
of solid and liquid waste disposal; in other words, it is the MMDA's ministerial duty to
attend to such services.

We agree with respondents.

First off, we wish to state that petitioners' obligation to perform their duties as defined by
law, on one hand, and how they are to carry out such duties, on the other, are two different
concepts. While the implementation of the MMDA's mandated tasks may entail a decision-
making process, the enforcement of the law or the very act of doing what the law exacts to
be done is ministerial in nature and may be compelled by mandamus . We said so in Social
Justice Society v. Atienza11 in which the Court directed the City of Manila to enforce, as a
matter of ministerial duty, its Ordinance No. 8027 directing the three big local oil players to
cease and desist from operating their business in the so-called "Pandacan Terminals" within
six months from the effectivity of the ordinance. But to illustrate with respect to the instant
case,the MMDA's duty to put up an adequate and appropriate sanitary landfill and solid
waste and liquid disposal as well as other alternative garbage disposal systems is ministerial,
its duty being a statutory imposition. The MMDA's duty in this regard is spelled out in Sec.
3(c) of Republic Act No. (RA) 7924 creating the MMDA. This section defines and delineates
the scope of the MMDA's waste disposal services to include:

Solid waste disposal and management which include formulation and implementation of
policies, standards, programs and projects for proper and sanitary waste disposal. It shall
likewise include the establishment and operation of sanitary land fill and related facilities
and the implementation of other alternative programs intended to reduce, reuse and
recycle solid waste. (Emphasis added.)

The MMDA is duty-bound to comply with Sec. 41 of the Ecological Solid Waste Management
Act (RA 9003) which prescribes the minimum criteria for the establishment of sanitary
landfills and Sec. 42 which provides the minimum operating requirements that each site
operator shall maintain in the operation of a sanitary landfill. Complementing Sec. 41 are
Secs. 36 and 37 of RA 9003,12 enjoining the MMDA and local government units, among
others, after the effectivity of the law on February 15, 2001, from using and operating open
dumps for solid waste and disallowing, five years after such effectivity, the use of controlled
dumps.

The MMDA's duty in the area of solid waste disposal, as may be noted, is set forth not only
in the Environment Code (PD 1152) and RA 9003, but in its charter as well. This duty of
putting up a proper waste disposal system cannot be characterized as discretionary, for, as
earlier stated, discretion presupposes the power or right given by law to public functionaries
to act officially according to their judgment or conscience.13 A discretionary duty is one that
"allows a person to exercise judgment and choose to perform or not to perform." 14 Any
suggestion that the MMDA has the option whether or not to perform its solid waste
disposal-related duties ought to be dismissed for want of legal basis.

A perusal of other petitioners' respective charters or like enabling statutes and pertinent
laws would yield this conclusion: these government agencies are enjoined, as a matter of
statutory obligation, to perform certain functions relating directly or indirectly to the
cleanup, rehabilitation, protection, and preservation of the Manila Bay. They are precluded
from choosing not to perform these duties. Consider:

(1) The DENR, under Executive Order No. (EO) 192,15 is the primary agency responsible for
the conservation, management, development, and proper use of the country's environment
and natural resources. Sec. 19 of the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 (RA 9275), on the
other hand, designates the DENR as the primary government agency responsible for its
enforcement and implementation, more particularly over all aspects of water quality
management. On water pollution, the DENR, under the Act's Sec. 19(k), exercises
jurisdiction "over all aspects of water pollution, determine[s] its location, magnitude, extent,
severity, causes and effects and other pertinent information on pollution, and [takes]
measures, using available methods and technologies, to prevent and abate such pollution."

The DENR, under RA 9275, is also tasked to prepare a National Water Quality Status Report,
an Integrated Water Quality Management Framework, and a 10-year Water Quality
Management Area Action Plan which is nationwide in scope covering the Manila Bay and
adjoining areas. Sec. 19 of RA 9275 provides:

Sec. 19 Lead Agency. The [DENR] shall be the primary government agency responsible for
the implementation and enforcement of this Act x x x unless otherwise provided herein. As
such, it shall have the following functions, powers and responsibilities:

a) Prepare a National Water Quality Status report within twenty-four (24) months from the
effectivity of this Act: Provided, That the Department shall thereafter review or revise and
publish annually, or as the need arises, said report;

b) Prepare an Integrated Water Quality Management Framework within twelve (12) months
following the completion of the status report;

c) Prepare a ten (10) year Water Quality Management Area Action Plan within 12 months
following the completion of the framework for each designated water management area.
Such action plan shall be reviewed by the water quality management area governing board
every five (5) years or as need arises.

The DENR has prepared the status report for the period 2001 to 2005 and is in the process
of completing the preparation of the Integrated Water Quality Management Framework.16
Within twelve (12) months thereafter, it has to submit a final Water Quality Management
Area Action Plan.17 Again, like the MMDA, the DENR should be made to accomplish the tasks
assigned to it under RA 9275.

Parenthetically, during the oral arguments, the DENR Secretary manifested that the DENR,
with the assistance of and in partnership with various government agencies and non-
government organizations, has completed, as of December 2005, the final draft of a
comprehensive action plan with estimated budget and time frame, denominated as
Operation Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy, for the rehabilitation, restoration, and
rehabilitation of the Manila Bay.

The completion of the said action plan and even the implementation of some of its phases
should more than ever prod the concerned agencies to fast track what are assigned them
under existing laws.

(2) The MWSS, under Sec. 3 of RA 6234,18 is vested with jurisdiction, supervision, and
control over all waterworks and sewerage systems in the territory comprising what is now
the cities of Metro Manila and several towns of the provinces of Rizal and Cavite, and
charged with the duty:
(g) To construct, maintain, and operate such sanitary sewerages as may be necessary for the
proper sanitation and other uses of the cities and towns comprising the System; x x x

(3) The LWUA under PD 198 has the power of supervision and control over local water
districts. It can prescribe the minimum standards and regulations for the operations of these
districts and shall monitor and evaluate local water standards. The LWUA can direct these
districts to construct, operate, and furnish facilities and services for the collection,
treatment, and disposal of sewerage, waste, and storm water. Additionally, under RA 9275,
the LWUA, as attached agency of the DPWH, is tasked with providing sewerage and
sanitation facilities, inclusive of the setting up of efficient and safe collection, treatment,
and sewage disposal system in the different parts of the country.19 In relation to the instant
petition, the LWUA is mandated to provide sewerage and sanitation facilities in Laguna,
Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan to prevent pollution in the Manila Bay.

(4) The Department of Agriculture (DA), pursuant to the Administrative Code of 1987 (EO
292),20 is designated as the agency tasked to promulgate and enforce all laws and issuances
respecting the conservation and proper utilization of agricultural and fishery resources.
Furthermore, the DA, under the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 (RA 8550), is, in
coordination with local government units (LGUs) and other concerned sectors, in charge of
establishing a monitoring, control, and surveillance system to ensure that fisheries and
aquatic resources in Philippine waters are judiciously utilized and managed on a sustainable
basis.21 Likewise under RA 9275, the DA is charged with coordinating with the PCG and
DENR for the enforcement of water quality standards in marine waters.22 More specifically,
its Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) under Sec. 22(c) of RA 9275 shall
primarily be responsible for the prevention and control of water pollution for the
development, management, and conservation of the fisheries and aquatic resources.

(5) The DPWH, as the engineering and construction arm of the national government, is
tasked under EO 29223 to provide integrated planning, design, and construction services for,
among others, flood control and water resource development systems in accordance with
national development objectives and approved government plans and specifications.

In Metro Manila, however, the MMDA is authorized by Sec. 3(d), RA 7924 to perform metro-
wide services relating to "flood control and sewerage management which include the
formulation and implementation of policies, standards, programs and projects for an
integrated flood control, drainage and sewerage system."

On July 9, 2002, a Memorandum of Agreement was entered into between the DPWH and
MMDA, whereby MMDA was made the agency primarily responsible for flood control in
Metro Manila. For the rest of the country, DPWH shall remain as the implementing agency
for flood control services. The mandate of the MMDA and DPWH on flood control and
drainage services shall include the removal of structures, constructions, and encroachments
built along rivers, waterways, and esteros (drainages) in violation of RA 7279, PD 1067, and
other pertinent laws.

(6) The PCG, in accordance with Sec. 5(p) of PD 601, or the Revised Coast Guard Law of
1974, and Sec. 6 of PD 979,24 or the Marine Pollution Decree of 1976, shall have the primary
responsibility of enforcing laws, rules, and regulations governing marine pollution within the
territorial waters of the Philippines. It shall promulgate its own rules and regulations in
accordance with the national rules and policies set by the National Pollution Control
Commission upon consultation with the latter for the effective implementation and
enforcement of PD 979. It shall, under Sec. 4 of the law, apprehend violators who:

A. discharge, dump x x x harmful substances from or out of any ship, vessel, barge, or any
other floating craft, or other man-made structures at sea, by any method, means or manner,
into or upon the territorial and inland navigable waters of the Philippines;

b. throw, discharge or deposit, dump, or cause, suffer or procure to be thrown, discharged,


or deposited either from or out of any ship, barge, or other floating craft or vessel of any
kind, or from the shore, wharf, manufacturing establishment, or mill of any kind, any refuse
matter of any kind or description whatever other than that flowing from streets and sewers
and passing therefrom in a liquid state into tributary of any navigable water from which the
same shall float or be washed into such navigable water; and cralawlibrary

c. deposit x x x material of any kind in any place on the bank of any navigable water or on
the bank of any tributary of any navigable water, where the same shall be liable to be
washed into such navigable water, either by ordinary or high tides, or by storms or floods, or
otherwise, whereby navigation shall or may be impeded or obstructed or increase the level
of pollution of such water.

(7) When RA 6975 or the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Act of
1990 was signed into law on December 13, 1990, the PNP Maritime Group was tasked to
"perform all police functions over the Philippine territorial waters and rivers." Under Sec.
86, RA 6975, the police functions of the PCG shall be taken over by the PNP when the latter
acquires the capability to perform such functions. Since the PNP Maritime Group has not yet
attained the capability to assume and perform the police functions of PCG over marine
pollution, the PCG and PNP Maritime Group shall coordinate with regard to the
enforcement of laws, rules, and regulations governing marine pollution within the territorial
waters of the Philippines. This was made clear in Sec. 124, RA 8550 or the Philippine
Fisheries Code of 1998, in which both the PCG and PNP Maritime Group were authorized to
enforce said law and other fishery laws, rules, and regulations.25

(8) In accordance with Sec. 2 of EO 513, the PPA is mandated "to establish, develop,
regulate, manage and operate a rationalized national port system in support of trade and
national development."26 Moreover, Sec. 6-c of EO 513 states that the PPA has police
authority within the ports administered by it as may be necessary to carry out its powers
and functions and attain its purposes and objectives, without prejudice to the exercise of
the functions of the Bureau of Customs and other law enforcement bodies within the area.
Such police authority shall include the following:

xxx

b) To regulate the entry to, exit from, and movement within the port, of persons and
vehicles, as well as movement within the port of watercraft.27
Lastly, as a member of the International Marine Organization and a signatory to the
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, as amended by
MARPOL 73/78,28 the Philippines, through the PPA, must ensure the provision of adequate
reception facilities at ports and terminals for the reception of sewage from the ships
docking in Philippine ports. Thus, the PPA is tasked to adopt such measures as are necessary
to prevent the discharge and dumping of solid and liquid wastes and other ship-generated
wastes into the Manila Bay waters from vessels docked at ports and apprehend the
violators. When the vessels are not docked at ports but within Philippine territorial waters,
it is the PCG and PNP Maritime Group that have jurisdiction over said vessels.

(9) The MMDA, as earlier indicated, is duty-bound to put up and maintain adequate sanitary
landfill and solid waste and liquid disposal system as well as other alternative garbage
disposal systems. It is primarily responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the
provisions of RA 9003, which would necessary include its penal provisions, within its area of
jurisdiction.29

Among the prohibited acts under Sec. 48, Chapter VI of RA 9003 that are frequently violated
are dumping of waste matters in public places, such as roads, canals or esteros, open
burning of solid waste, squatting in open dumps and landfills, open dumping, burying of
biodegradable or non - biodegradable materials in flood-prone areas, establishment or
operation of open dumps as enjoined in RA 9003, and operation of waste management
facilities without an environmental compliance certificate.

Under Sec. 28 of the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (RA 7279), eviction or
demolition may be allowed "when persons or entities occupy danger areas such as esteros,
railroad tracks, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways, and other public places
such as sidewalks, roads, parks and playgrounds." The MMDA, as lead agency, in
coordination with the DPWH, LGUs, and concerned agencies, can dismantle and remove all
structures, constructions, and other encroachments built in breach of RA 7279 and other
pertinent laws along the rivers, waterways, and esteros in Metro Manila. With respect to
rivers, waterways, and esteros in Bulacan, Bataan, Pampanga, Cavite, and Laguna that
discharge wastewater directly or eventually into the Manila Bay, the DILG shall direct the
concerned LGUs to implement the demolition and removal of such structures,
constructions, and other encroachments built in violation of RA 7279 and other applicable
laws in coordination with the DPWH and concerned agencies.

(10) The Department of Health (DOH), under Article 76 of PD 1067 (the Water Code), is
tasked to promulgate rules and regulations for the establishment of waste disposal areas
that affect the source of a water supply or a reservoir for domestic or municipal use. And
under Sec. 8 of RA 9275, the DOH, in coordination with the DENR, DPWH, and other
concerned agencies, shall formulate guidelines and standards for the collection, treatment,
and disposal of sewage and the establishment and operation of a centralized sewage
treatment system. In areas not considered as highly urbanized cities, septage or a mix
sewerage-septage management system shall be employed.

In accordance with Sec. 7230 of PD 856, the Code of Sanitation of the Philippines, and Sec.
5.1.131 of Chapter XVII of its implementing rules, the DOH is also ordered to ensure the
regulation and monitoring of the proper disposal of wastes by private sludge companies
through the strict enforcement of the requirement to obtain an environmental sanitation
clearance of sludge collection treatment and disposal before these companies are issued
their environmental sanitation permit.

(11) The Department of Education (DepEd), under the Philippine Environment Code (PD
1152), is mandated to integrate subjects on environmental education in its school curricula
at all levels.32 Under Sec. 118 of RA 8550, the DepEd, in collaboration with the DA,
Commission on Higher Education, and Philippine Information Agency, shall launch and
pursue a nationwide educational campaign to promote the development, management,
conservation, and proper use of the environment. Under the Ecological Solid Waste
Management Act (RA 9003), on the other hand, it is directed to strengthen the integration
of environmental concerns in school curricula at all levels, with an emphasis on waste
management principles.33

(12) The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is tasked under Sec. 2, Title XVII of
the Administrative Code of 1987 to ensure the efficient and sound utilization of government
funds and revenues so as to effectively achieve the country's development objectives.34

One of the country's development objectives is enshrined in RA 9275 or the Philippine Clean
Water Act of 2004. This law stresses that the State shall pursue a policy of economic growth
in a manner consistent with the protection, preservation, and revival of the quality of our
fresh, brackish, and marine waters. It also provides that it is the policy of the government,
among others, to streamline processes and procedures in the prevention, control, and
abatement of pollution mechanisms for the protection of water resources; to promote
environmental strategies and use of appropriate economic instruments and of control
mechanisms for the protection of water resources; to formulate a holistic national program
of water quality management that recognizes that issues related to this management
cannot be separated from concerns about water sources and ecological protection, water
supply, public health, and quality of life; and to provide a comprehensive management
program for water pollution focusing on pollution prevention.

Thus, the DBM shall then endeavor to provide an adequate budget to attain the noble
objectives of RA 9275 in line with the country's development objectives.

All told, the aforementioned enabling laws and issuances are in themselves clear,
categorical, and complete as to what are the obligations and mandate of each
agency/petitioner under the law. We need not belabor the issue that their tasks include the
cleanup of the Manila Bay.

Now, as to the crux of the petition. Do Secs. 17 and 20 of the Environment Code encompass
the cleanup of water pollution in general, not just specific pollution incidents?

Secs. 17 and 20 of the Environment Code


Include Cleaning in General

The disputed sections are quoted as follows:


Section 17. Upgrading of Water Quality. Where the quality of water has deteriorated to a
degree where its state will adversely affect its best usage, the government agencies
concerned shall take such measures as may be necessary to upgrade the quality of such
water to meet the prescribed water quality standards.

Section 20. Clean-up Operations. It shall be the responsibility of the polluter to contain,
remove and clean-up water pollution incidents at his own expense. In case of his failure to
do so, the government agencies concerned shall undertake containment, removal and
clean-up operations and expenses incurred in said operations shall be charged against the
persons and/or entities responsible for such pollution.

When the Clean Water Act (RA 9275) took effect, its Sec. 16 on the subject, o, amended the
counterpart provision (Sec. 20) of the Environment Code (PD 1152). Sec. 17 of PD 1152
continues, however, to be operational.

The amendatory Sec. 16 of RA 9275 reads:

SEC. 16. Cleanup Operations. Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 15 and 26 hereof,
any person who causes pollution in or pollutes water bodies in excess of the applicable and
prevailing standards shall be responsible to contain, remove and clean up any pollution
incident at his own expense to the extent that the same water bodies have been rendered
unfit for utilization and beneficial use: Provided, That in the event emergency cleanup
operations are necessary and the polluter fails to immediately undertake the same, the
[DENR] in coordination with other government agencies concerned, shall undertake
containment, removal and cleanup operations. Expenses incurred in said operations shall be
reimbursed by the persons found to have caused such pollution under proper administrative
determination x x x. Reimbursements of the cost incurred shall be made to the Water
Quality Management Fund or to such other funds where said disbursements were sourced.

As may be noted, the amendment to Sec. 20 of the Environment Code is more apparent
than real since the amendment, insofar as it is relevant to this case, merely consists in the
designation of the DENR as lead agency in the cleanup operations.

Petitioners contend at every turn that Secs. 17 and 20 of the Environment Code concern
themselves only with the matter of cleaning up in specific pollution incidents, as opposed to
cleanup in general. They aver that the twin provisions would have to be read alongside the
succeeding Sec. 62(g) and (h), which defines the terms "cleanup operations" and "accidental
spills," as follows:

g. Clean-up Operations [refer] to activities conducted in removing the pollutants discharged


or spilled in water to restore it to pre-spill condition.

h. Accidental Spills [refer] to spills of oil or other hazardous substances in water that result
from accidents such as collisions and groundings.

Petitioners proffer the argument that Secs. 17 and 20 of PD 1152 merely direct the
government agencies concerned to undertake containment, removal, and cleaning
operations of a specific polluted portion or portions of the body of water concerned. They
maintain that the application of said Sec. 20 is limited only to "water pollution incidents,"
which are situations that presuppose the occurrence of specific, isolated pollution events
requiring the corresponding containment, removal, and cleaning operations. Pushing the
point further, they argue that the aforequoted Sec. 62(g) requires "cleanup operations" to
restore the body of water to pre-spill condition, which means that there must have been a
specific incident of either intentional or accidental spillage of oil or other hazardous
substances, as mentioned in Sec. 62(h).

As a counterpoint, respondents argue that petitioners erroneously read Sec. 62(g) as


delimiting the application of Sec. 20 to the containment, removal, and cleanup operations
for accidental spills only. Contrary to petitioners' posture, respondents assert that Sec.
62(g), in fact, even expanded the coverage of Sec. 20. Respondents explain that without its
Sec. 62(g), PD 1152 may have indeed covered only pollution accumulating from the day-to-
day operations of businesses around the Manila Bay and other sources of pollution that
slowly accumulated in the bay. Respondents, however, emphasize that Sec. 62(g), far from
being a delimiting provision, in fact even enlarged the operational scope of Sec. 20, by
including accidental spills as among the water pollution incidents contemplated in Sec. 17 in
relation to Sec. 20 of PD 1152.

To respondents, petitioners' parochial view on environmental issues, coupled with their


narrow reading of their respective mandated roles, has contributed to the worsening water
quality of the Manila Bay. Assuming, respondents assert, that petitioners are correct in
saying that the cleanup coverage of Sec. 20 of PD 1152 is constricted by the definition of the
phrase "cleanup operations" embodied in Sec. 62(g), Sec. 17 is not hobbled by such limiting
definition. As pointed out, the phrases "cleanup operations" and "accidental spills" do not
appear in said Sec. 17, not even in the chapter where said section is found.

Respondents are correct. For one thing, said Sec. 17 does not in any way state that the
government agencies concerned ought to confine themselves to the containment, removal,
and cleaning operations when a specific pollution incident occurs. On the contrary, Sec. 17
requires them to act even in the absence of a specific pollution incident, as long as water
quality "has deteriorated to a degree where its state will adversely affect its best usage."
This section, to stress, commands concerned government agencies, when appropriate, "to
take such measures as may be necessary to meet the prescribed water quality standards." In
fine, the underlying duty to upgrade the quality of water is not conditional on the
occurrence of any pollution incident.

For another, a perusal of Sec. 20 of the Environment Code, as couched, indicates that it is
properly applicable to a specific situation in which the pollution is caused by polluters who
fail to clean up the mess they left behind. In such instance, the concerned government
agencies shall undertake the cleanup work for the polluters' account. Petitioners' assertion,
that they have to perform cleanup operations in the Manila Bay only when there is a water
pollution incident and the erring polluters do not undertake the containment, removal, and
cleanup operations, is quite off mark. As earlier discussed, the complementary Sec. 17 of the
Environment Code comes into play and the specific duties of the agencies to clean up come
in even if there are no pollution incidents staring at them. Petitioners, thus, cannot plausibly
invoke and hide behind Sec. 20 of PD 1152 or Sec. 16 of RA 9275 on the pretext that their
cleanup mandate depends on the happening of a specific pollution incident. In this regard,
what the CA said with respect to the impasse over Secs. 17 and 20 of PD 1152 is at once
valid as it is practical. The appellate court wrote: "PD 1152 aims to introduce a
comprehensive program of environmental protection and management. This is better
served by making Secs. 17 & 20 of general application rather than limiting them to specific
pollution incidents."35

Granting arguendo that petitioners' position thus described vis - -vis the implementation of
Sec. 20 is correct, they seem to have overlooked the fact that the pollution of the Manila
Bay is of such magnitude and scope that it is well-nigh impossible to draw the line between
a specific and a general pollution incident. And such impossibility extends to pinpointing
with reasonable certainty who the polluters are. We note that Sec. 20 of PD 1152 mentions
"water pollution incidents" which may be caused by polluters in the waters of the Manila
Bay itself or by polluters in adjoining lands and in water bodies or waterways that empty
into the bay. Sec. 16 of RA 9275, on the other hand, specifically adverts to "any person who
causes pollution in or pollutes water bodies," which may refer to an individual or an
establishment that pollutes the land mass near the Manila Bay or the waterways, such that
the contaminants eventually end up in the bay. In this situation, the water pollution
incidents are so numerous and involve nameless and faceless polluters that they can validly
be categorized as beyond the specific pollution incident level.

Not to be ignored of course is the reality that the government agencies concerned are so
undermanned that it would be almost impossible to apprehend the numerous polluters of
the Manila Bay. It may perhaps not be amiss to say that the apprehension, if any, of the
Manila Bay polluters has been few and far between. Hence, practically nobody has been
required to contain, remove, or clean up a given water pollution incident. In this kind of
setting, it behooves the Government to step in and undertake cleanup operations. Thus,
Sec. 16 of RA 9275, previously Sec. 20 of PD 1152, covers for all intents and purposes a
general cleanup situation.

The cleanup and/or restoration of the Manila Bay is only an aspect and the initial stage of
the long-term solution. The preservation of the water quality of the bay after the
rehabilitation process is as important as the cleaning phase. It is imperative then that the
wastes and contaminants found in the rivers, inland bays, and other bodies of water be
stopped from reaching the Manila Bay. Otherwise, any cleanup effort would just be a futile,
cosmetic exercise, for, in no time at all, the Manila Bay water quality would again
deteriorate below the ideal minimum standards set by PD 1152, RA 9275, and other
relevant laws. It thus behooves the Court to put the heads of the petitioner-department-
agencies and the bureaus and offices under them on continuing notice about, and to enjoin
them to perform, their mandates and duties towards cleaning up the Manila Bay and
preserving the quality of its water to the ideal level. Under what other judicial discipline
describes as "continuing mandamus, "36 the Court may, under extraordinary circumstances,
issue directives with the end in view of ensuring that its decision would not be set to naught
by administrative inaction or indifference. In India, the doctrine of continuing mandamus
was used to enforce directives of the court to clean up the length of the Ganges River from
industrial and municipal pollution.37
The Court can take judicial notice of the presence of shanties and other unauthorized
structures which do not have septic tanks along the Pasig-Marikina-San Juan Rivers, the
National Capital Region (NCR) (Paraaque-Zapote, Las Pias) Rivers, the Navotas-Malabon-
Tullahan-Tenejeros Rivers, the Meycuayan-Marilao-Obando (Bulacan) Rivers, the Talisay
(Bataan) River, the Imus (Cavite) River, the Laguna De Bay, and other minor rivers and
connecting waterways, river banks, and esteros which discharge their waters, with all the
accompanying filth, dirt, and garbage, into the major rivers and eventually the Manila Bay. If
there is one factor responsible for the pollution of the major river systems and the Manila
Bay, these unauthorized structures would be on top of the list. And if the issue of illegal or
unauthorized structures is not seriously addressed with sustained resolve, then practically
all efforts to cleanse these important bodies of water would be for naught. The DENR
Secretary said as much.38

Giving urgent dimension to the necessity of removing these illegal structures is Art. 51 of PD
1067 or the Water Code,39 which prohibits the building of structures within a given length
along banks of rivers and other waterways. Art. 51 reads:

The banks of rivers and streams and the shores of the seas and lakes throughout their
entire length and within a zone of three (3) meters in urban areas, twenty (20) meters in
agricultural areas and forty (40) meters in forest areas, along their margins, are subject to
the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing and
salvage. No person shall be allowed to stay in this zone longer than what is necessary for
recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing or salvage or to build structures of any kind.
(Emphasis added.)

Judicial notice may likewise be taken of factories and other industrial establishments
standing along or near the banks of the Pasig River, other major rivers, and connecting
waterways. But while they may not be treated as unauthorized constructions, some of these
establishments undoubtedly contribute to the pollution of the Pasig River and waterways.
The DILG and the concerned LGUs, have, accordingly, the duty to see to it that non-
complying industrial establishments set up, within a reasonable period, the necessary waste
water treatment facilities and infrastructure to prevent their industrial discharge, including
their sewage waters, from flowing into the Pasig River, other major rivers, and connecting
waterways. After such period, non-complying establishments shall be shut down or asked to
transfer their operations.

At this juncture, and if only to dramatize the urgency of the need for petitioners-agencies to
comply with their statutory tasks, we cite the Asian Development Bank-commissioned study
on the garbage problem in Metro Manila, the results of which are embodied in the The
Garbage Book. As there reported, the garbage crisis in the metropolitan area is as alarming
as it is shocking. Some highlights of the report:

1. As early as 2003, three land-filled dumpsites in Metro Manila - the Payatas, Catmon and
Rodriquez dumpsites - generate an alarming quantity of lead and leachate or liquid run-off.
Leachate are toxic liquids that flow along the surface and seep into the earth and poison the
surface and groundwater that are used for drinking, aquatic life, and the environment.
2. The high level of fecal coliform confirms the presence of a large amount of human waste
in the dump sites and surrounding areas, which is presumably generated by households that
lack alternatives to sanitation. To say that Manila Bay needs rehabilitation is an
understatement.

3. Most of the deadly leachate, lead and other dangerous contaminants and possibly strains
of pathogens seeps untreated into ground water and runs into the Marikina and Pasig River
systems and Manila Bay.40

Given the above perspective, sufficient sanitary landfills should now more than ever be
established as prescribed by the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003).
Particular note should be taken of the blatant violations by some LGUs and possibly the
MMDA of Sec. 37, reproduced below:

Sec. 37. Prohibition against the Use of Open Dumps for Solid Waste. No open dumps shall be
established and operated, nor any practice or disposal of solid waste by any person,
including LGUs which [constitute] the use of open dumps for solid waste, be allowed after
the effectivity of this Act: Provided, further that no controlled dumps shall be allowed (5)
years following the effectivity of this Act. (Emphasis added.)

RA 9003 took effect on February 15, 2001 and the adverted grace period of five (5) years
which ended on February 21, 2006 has come and gone, but no single sanitary landfill which
strictly complies with the prescribed standards under RA 9003 has yet been set up.

In addition, there are rampant and repeated violations of Sec. 48 of RA 9003, like littering,
dumping of waste matters in roads, canals, esteros, and other public places, operation of
open dumps, open burning of solid waste, and the like. Some sludge companies which do
not have proper disposal facilities simply discharge sludge into the Metro Manila sewerage
system that ends up in the Manila Bay. Equally unabated are violations of Sec. 27 of RA
9275, which enjoins the pollution of water bodies, groundwater pollution, disposal of
infectious wastes from vessels, and unauthorized transport or dumping into sea waters of
sewage or solid waste and of Secs. 4 and 102 of RA 8550 which proscribes the introduction
by human or machine of substances to the aquatic environment including
"dumping/disposal of waste and other marine litters, discharge of petroleum or residual
products of petroleum of carbonaceous materials/substances [and other] radioactive,
noxious or harmful liquid, gaseous or solid substances, from any water, land or air transport
or other human-made structure."

In the light of the ongoing environmental degradation, the Court wishes to emphasize the
extreme necessity for all concerned executive departments and agencies to immediately act
and discharge their respective official duties and obligations. Indeed, time is of the essence;
hence, there is a need to set timetables for the performance and completion of the tasks,
some of them as defined for them by law and the nature of their respective offices and
mandates.

The importance of the Manila Bay as a sea resource, playground, and as a historical
landmark cannot be over-emphasized. It is not yet too late in the day to restore the Manila
Bay to its former splendor and bring back the plants and sea life that once thrived in its blue
waters. But the tasks ahead, daunting as they may be, could only be accomplished if those
mandated, with the help and cooperation of all civic-minded individuals, would put their
minds to these tasks and take responsibility. This means that the State, through petitioners,
has to take the lead in the preservation and protection of the Manila Bay.

The era of delays, procrastination, and ad hoc measures is over. Petitioners must transcend
their limitations, real or imaginary, and buckle down to work before the problem at hand
becomes unmanageable. Thus, we must reiterate that different government agencies and
instrumentalities cannot shirk from their mandates; they must perform their basic functions
in cleaning up and rehabilitating the Manila Bay. We are disturbed by petitioners' hiding
behind two untenable claims: (1) that there ought to be a specific pollution incident before
they are required to act; and (2) that the cleanup of the bay is a discretionary duty.

RA 9003 is a sweeping piece of legislation enacted to radically transform and improve waste
management. It implements Sec. 16, Art. II of the 1987 Constitution, which explicitly
provides that 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.

So it was that in Oposa v. Factoran, Jr. the Court stated that the right to a balanced and
healthful ecology need not even be written in the Constitution for it is assumed, like other
civil and political rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, to exist from the inception of
mankind and it is an issue of transcendental importance with intergenerational
implications.41 Even assuming the absence of a categorical legal provision specifically
prodding petitioners to clean up the bay, they and the men and women representing them
cannot escape their obligation to future generations of Filipinos to keep the waters of the
Manila Bay clean and clear as humanly as possible. Anything less would be a betrayal of the
trust reposed in them.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The September 28, 2005 Decision of the CA in CA-G.R.
CV No. 76528 and SP No. 74944 and the September 13, 2002 Decision of the RTC in Civil
Case No. 1851-99 are AFFIRMED but with MODIFICATIONS in view of subsequent
developments or supervening events in the case. The fallo of the RTC Decision shall now
read:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the abovenamed defendant-


government agencies to clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay, and restore and
maintain its waters to SB level (Class B sea waters per Water Classification Tables under
DENR Administrative Order No. 34 [1990]) to make them fit for swimming, skin-diving, and
other forms of contact recreation.

In particular:

(1) Pursuant to Sec. 4 of EO 192, assigning the DENR as the primary agency responsible for
the conservation, management, development, and proper use of the country's environment
and natural resources, and Sec. 19 of RA 9275, designating the DENR as the primary
government agency responsible for its enforcement and implementation, the DENR is
directed to fully implement its Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy for the
rehabilitation, restoration, and conservation of the Manila Bay at the earliest possible time.
It is ordered to call regular coordination meetings with concerned government departments
and agencies to ensure the successful implementation of the aforesaid plan of action in
accordance with its indicated completion schedules.

(2) Pursuant to Title XII (Local Government) of the Administrative Code of 1987 and Sec. 25
of the Local Government Code of 1991,42 the DILG, in exercising the President's power of
general supervision and its duty to promulgate guidelines in establishing waste
management programs under Sec. 43 of the Philippine Environment Code (PD 1152), shall
direct all LGUs in Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan to
inspect all factories, commercial establishments, and private homes along the banks of the
major river systems in their respective areas of jurisdiction, such as but not limited to the
Pasig-Marikina-San Juan Rivers, the NCR (Paraaque-Zapote, Las Pias) Rivers, the Navotas-
Malabon-Tullahan-Tenejeros Rivers, the Meycauayan-Marilao-Obando (Bulacan) Rivers, the
Talisay (Bataan) River, the Imus (Cavite) River, the Laguna De Bay, and other minor rivers
and waterways that eventually discharge water into the Manila Bay; and the lands abutting
the bay, to determine whether they have wastewater treatment facilities or hygienic septic
tanks as prescribed by existing laws, ordinances, and rules and regulations. If none be found,
these LGUs shall be ordered to require non-complying establishments and homes to set up
said facilities or septic tanks within a reasonable time to prevent industrial wastes, sewage
water, and human wastes from flowing into these rivers, waterways, esteros, and the
Manila Bay, under pain of closure or imposition of fines and other sanctions.

(3) As mandated by Sec. 8 of RA 9275,43 the MWSS is directed to provide, install, operate,
and maintain the necessary adequate waste water treatment facilities in Metro Manila,
Rizal, and Cavite where needed at the earliest possible time.

(4) Pursuant to RA 9275,44 the LWUA, through the local water districts and in coordination
with the DENR, is ordered to provide, install, operate, and maintain sewerage and sanitation
facilities and the efficient and safe collection, treatment, and disposal of sewage in the
provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan where needed at the earliest
possible time.

(5) Pursuant to Sec. 65 of RA 8550,45 the DA, through the BFAR, is ordered to improve and
restore the marine life of the Manila Bay. It is also directed to assist the LGUs in Metro
Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan in developing, using
recognized methods, the fisheries and aquatic resources in the Manila Bay.

(6) The PCG, pursuant to Secs. 4 and 6 of PD 979, and the PNP Maritime Group, in
accordance with Sec. 124 of RA 8550, in coordination with each other, shall apprehend
violators of PD 979, RA 8550, and other existing laws and regulations designed to prevent
marine pollution in the Manila Bay.

(7) Pursuant to Secs. 2 and 6-c of EO 51346 and the International Convention for the
Prevention of Pollution from Ships, the PPA is ordered to immediately adopt such measures
to prevent the discharge and dumping of solid and liquid wastes and other ship-generated
wastes into the Manila Bay waters from vessels docked at ports and apprehend the
violators.

(8) The MMDA, as the lead agency and implementor of programs and projects for flood
control projects and drainage services in Metro Manila, in coordination with the DPWH,
DILG, affected LGUs, PNP Maritime Group, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating
Council (HUDCC), and other agencies, shall dismantle and remove all structures,
constructions, and other encroachments established or built in violation of RA 7279, and
other applicable laws along the Pasig-Marikina-San Juan Rivers, the NCR (Paraaque-Zapote,
Las Pias) Rivers, the Navotas-Malabon-Tullahan-Tenejeros Rivers, and connecting
waterways and esteros in Metro Manila. The DPWH, as the principal implementor of
programs and projects for flood control services in the rest of the country more particularly
in Bulacan, Bataan, Pampanga, Cavite, and Laguna, in coordination with the DILG, affected
LGUs, PNP Maritime Group, HUDCC, and other concerned government agencies, shall
remove and demolish all structures, constructions, and other encroachments built in breach
of RA 7279 and other applicable laws along the Meycauayan-Marilao-Obando (Bulacan)
Rivers, the Talisay (Bataan) River, the Imus (Cavite) River, the Laguna De Bay, and other
rivers, connecting waterways, and esteros that discharge wastewater into the Manila Bay.

In addition, the MMDA is ordered to establish, operate, and maintain a sanitary landfill, as
prescribed by RA 9003, within a period of one (1) year from finality of this Decision. On
matters within its territorial jurisdiction and in connection with the discharge of its duties on
the maintenance of sanitary landfills and like undertakings, it is also ordered to cause the
apprehension and filing of the appropriate criminal cases against violators of the respective
penal provisions of RA 9003,47 Sec. 27 of RA 9275 (the Clean Water Act), and other existing
laws on pollution.

(9) The DOH shall, as directed by Art. 76 of PD 1067 and Sec. 8 of RA 9275, within one (1)
year from finality of this Decision, determine if all licensed septic and sludge companies
have the proper facilities for the treatment and disposal of fecal sludge and sewage coming
from septic tanks. The DOH shall give the companies, if found to be non-complying, a
reasonable time within which to set up the necessary facilities under pain of cancellation of
its environmental sanitation clearance.

(10) Pursuant to Sec. 53 of PD 1152,48 Sec. 118 of RA 8550, and Sec. 56 of RA 9003,49 the
DepEd shall integrate lessons on pollution prevention, waste management, environmental
protection, and like subjects in the school curricula of all levels to inculcate in the minds and
hearts of students and, through them, their parents and friends, the importance of their
duty toward achieving and maintaining a balanced and healthful ecosystem in the Manila
Bay and the entire Philippine archipelago.

(11) The DBM shall consider incorporating an adequate budget in the General
Appropriations Act of 2010 and succeeding years to cover the expenses relating to the
cleanup, restoration, and preservation of the water quality of the Manila Bay, in line with
the country's development objective to attain economic growth in a manner consistent with
the protection, preservation, and revival of our marine waters.
(12) The heads of petitioners-agencies MMDA, DENR, DepEd, DOH, DA, DPWH, DBM, PCG,
PNP Maritime Group, DILG, and also of MWSS, LWUA, and PPA, in line with the principle of
"continuing mandamus, " shall, from finality of this Decision, each submit to the Court a
quarterly progressive report of the activities undertaken in accordance with this Decision.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Endnotes:

1 Now the Department of Education (DepEd).

2 Gore, An Inconvenient Truth 161.

3 Rollo, p. 74.

4 Id. at 53.

5 Id. at 109-123. Penned by Executive Judge Lucenito N. Tagle (now retired Court of Appeals Justice).

6 Id. at 47-58. Penned by Associate Justice Eliezer R. De Los Santos and concurred in by Associate Justices Eugenio S. Labitoria and Jose C. Reyes, Jr.

7 Id. at 52.

8 Angchangco, Jr. v. Ombudsman, G.R. No. 122728, February 13, 1997, 268 SCRA 301, 306.

9 Black's Law Dictionary (8th ed., 2004).

10 Lamb v. Phipps, 22 Phil. 456, 490 (1912).

11 G.R. No. 156052, March 7, 2007, 517 SCRA 657, as subsequently reiterated on February 13, 2008.

12 RA 9003 was approved on January 26, 2001.

13 2 Feria Noche, Civil Procedure Annotated.

14 Black's Law Dictionary (8th ed., 2004).

15 "Providing for the Reorganization of the [DENR], Renaming it as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and for Other Purposes."

16 Per DENR Secretary Jose Atienza, the DENR is preparing an EO for the purpose. TSN of oral arguments, p. 118.

17Per information from the Water Quality Management Section, Environmental Management Bureau, DENR, as validated by the DENR Secretary
during the oral arguments. TSN, pp. 119-120.

18 "An Act Creating the [MWSS] and Dissolving the National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority [NAWASA]; and for Other Purposes."

19Sec. 22. Linkage Mechanism. The [DENR] and its concerned attached agencies x x x shall coordinate and enter into agreement with other
government agencies, industrial sector and other concerned sectors in the furtherance of the objectives of this Act. The following agencies shall
perform tile functions specified hereunder:

xxx

b) DPWH through its attached agencies, such as the MWSS, LWUA, and including other urban water utilities for the provision or sewerage and
sanitation facilities and the efficient and safe collection, treatment and disposal of sewage within their area of jurisdiction.
20 Book IV, Title IV, Sec. 2.

21Sec. 14. Monitoring Control and Surveillance of the Philippine Waters. A monitoring, control and surveillance system shall be established by the
[DA] in coordination with LGUs and other agencies concerned to ensure that the fisheries and aquatic resources in the Philippine waters are
judiciously and wisely utilized and managed on a sustainable basis x x x.

22 Sec. 22. Linkage Mechanism. x x x x

a) Philippine Coast Guard in coordination with DA and DENR shall enforce for the enforcement of water quality standards in marine waters x x x
specifically from offshore sources;

xxx

c) DA, shall coordinate with the DENR, in the formulation of guidelines x x x for the prevention, control and abatement of pollution from agricultural
and aquaculture activities x x x Provided, further, That the x x x BFAR of the DA shall be primarily responsible for the prevention and control of
water pollution for the development, management and conservation of the fisheries and aquatic resources.

23Book IV, Title V, Sec. 2. Mandate. The [DPWH] shall be the State's engineering arm and is tasked to carry out the policy enumerated above [i.e.,
the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of infrastructure facilities, especially x x x flood control and water resources development
systems].

Sec. 3. Powers and Functions. The Department, in order to carry out its mandate, shall:

xxx

(2) Develop and implement effective codes, standards, and reasonable guidelines to ensure the safety of all public and private structures in the
country and assure efficiency and proper quality in the construction of public works;

(3) Ascertain that all public works plans and project implementation designs are consistent with current standards and guidelines;

xxx

(8) Provide an integrated planning for x x x flood control and water resource and water resource development systems x x x.

24Sec. 6. Enforcement and Implementation.The [PCG] shall have the primary responsibility of enforcing the laws, rules and regulations governing
marine pollution. However, it shall be the joint responsibility of the [PCG] and the National Pollution Control Commission to coordinate and
cooperate with each other in the enforcement of the provisions of this decree and its implementing rules and regulations, and may call upon any
other government office, instrumentality or agency to extend every assistance in this respect.

25
Sec. 124. Persons and Deputies Authorized to Enforce this Code x x x.The law enforcements of the [DA], the Philippine Navy, [PCG, PNP], PNP-
Maritime Command x x x are hereby authorized to enforce this Code and other fishery laws x x x.

26 <http://www.ppa.com.ph> (visited November 20, 2008).

27 EO 513, "Reorganizing the Philippine Ports Authority," Sec. 2 provides further:

Section 6 is hereby amended by adding a new paragraph to read as follows:

Sec. 6-c. Police Authority.x x x Such police authority shall include the following:

xxx

c) To maintain peace and order inside the port, in coordination with local police authorities;

xxx

e) To enforce rules and regulations promulgated by the Authority pursuant to law.

28 "International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships, 1973 as modified by the Protocol of 1978 Relating Thereto."

29Sec. 10. Role of LGUs in Solid Waste Management. Pursuant to the relevant provisions of RA No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government
Code, the LGUs shall be primarily responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of this Act within their respective
jurisdictions.
30
Sec. 72. Scope of Supervision of the Department. The approval of the Secretary or his duly authorized representative is required in the following
matters:

xxx

(g) Method of disposal of sludge from septic tanks or other treatment plants.

31Sec. 5.1.1.a. It shall be unlawful for any person, entity or firm to discharge untreated effluent of septic tanks and/or sewage treatment plants to
bodies of water without obtaining approval from the Secretary of Health or his duly authorized representatives.

32Sec. 53. Environmental Education. The [DepEd] shall integrate subjects on environmental education in its school curricula at all levels. It shall also
endeavor to conduct special community education emphasizing the relationship of man and nature as well as environmental sanitation and
practices.

33Sec. 56. Environmental Education in the Formal and Nonformal Sectors. The national government, through the [DepEd] and in coordination with
concerned government agencies, NGOs and private institutions, shall strengthen the integration of environmental concerns in school curricula at all
levels, with particular emphasis on the theory and practice of waste management principles like waste minimization, specifically resource
conservation and recovery, segregation at source, reduction, recycling, re-use, and composing, in order to promote environmental awareness and
action among the citizenry.

34Title XVII, Sec. 1. Declaration of Policy. The national budget shall be formulated and implemented as an instrument of national development,
reflective of national objectives and plans; supportive of and consistent with the socio-economic development plans and oriented towards the
achievement of explicit objectives and expected results, to ensure that the utilization of funds and operations of government entities are conducted
effectively; formulated within the context of a regionalized governmental structure and within the totality of revenues and other receipts,
expenditures and borrowings of all levels of government and of government-owned or controlled corporations; and prepared within the context of
the national long-term plans and budget programs of the Government.

35 Rollo, p. 76.

36 Vineet Narain v. Union of India, 1 SCC 226 (1998).

37 M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, 4 SC 463 (1987).

38 TSN, p. 121.

39 Repealed Art. 638 of the Civil Code. See E.L. Pineda, Property 399 (1999).

40 Asian Development Bank, The Garbage Book 44-45 (November 2006).

41 G.R. No. 101083, July 30, 1993, 224 SCRA 792, 805.

42Sec. 25. National Supervision over Local Government Units. (a) Consistent with the basic policy on local autonomy, the President shall exercise
general supervision over local government units to ensure that their acts are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions.

43Sec. 8. Domestic Sewage Collection, Treatment and Disposal. Within five (5) years following the effectivity of this Act, the Agency vested to
provide water supply and sewerage facilities and/or concessionaires in Metro Manila and other highly urbanized cities (HUCs) as defined in [RA]
7160, in coordination with LGUs, shall be required to connect the existing sewage line found in all subdivisions, condominiums, commercial centers,
hotels, sports and recreational facilities, hospitals, market places, public buildings, industrial complex and other similar establishments including
households to available sewerage system. Provided, That the said connection shall be subject to sewerage services charge/fees in accordance with
existing laws, rules or regulations unless the sources had already utilized their own sewerage system: Provided, further, That all sources of sewage
and septage shall comply with the requirements herein.

44 Supra note 19.

45 Sec. 65. Functions of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. As a line bureau, the BFAR shall have the following functions:

xxx

Q. assist the LGUs in developing their technical capability in the development, management, regulation, conservation, and protection of fishery
resources;

xxx

s. perform such other related function which shall promote the development, conservation, management, protection and utilization of fisheries and
aquatic resources.
46 Supra notes 26 & 27.

47Among the prohibited and penalized acts under Sec. 48 of RA 9003 are: (1) littering and dumping of waste matters in public places; (2) open
burning of solid wastes; (3) squatting in open dumps and landfills; (4) transporting and dumping in bulk of collected domestic, industrial,
commercial and institutional wastes in areas other than centers and facilities prescribed under the Act; (5) construction or operation of waste
management facilities without an Environmental Compliance Certificate; and (6) construction or operation of landfills or any waste disposal facility
on any aquifer, groundwater reservoir or watershed area.

48 Supra note 32.

49 Supra note 33.