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Oposa vs Factoran Jr. (Justice Davide Jr. | 1993)  The plaintiffs have no cause of action against him.

 They failed to allege in their complaint a specific legal right violated by


FACTS
the respondent Secretary. The allegation of an “environmental right”
The petitioners in this case are all minors represented by their is vague
respective parents. Initially, they filed a petition before RTC Makati  The question of whether logging should be permitted in the country is
against the Philippine Ecological Network (PENI), DENR Sec. a political question which should be properly addressed to the
Factoran Jr., and eventually the new DENR Sec. Alcala. They seek to executive or legislative.
compel the respondents and their respective agents to: RULING OF THE RTC – granted the motion to dismiss
o Cancel all existing timber license agreements (TLAs) in the
 Complaint states no cause of action against Factoran.
country
 It raised a political question.
o Cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing,
renewing or approving new timber license agreements.  Granting relief prayed for would result in the impairment of contracts
which is prohibited by the Constitution (since petitioners wanted all
 The complaint was instituted as a taxpayers' class suit and alleges
TLAs to be revoked).
that the plaintiffs "are all citizens of the Republic of the PH, taxpayers,
Thus the present petition before the SC.
and entitled to the full benefit, use and enjoyment of the natural
resource treasure that is the country's virgin tropical forests." ISSUE #1: W/N petitioners have legal standing –YES
 They filed the suit for themselves and others who are equally
concerned about the preservation of said resources but are "so  Petitioners minors assert that they represent their generation as well
numerous that it is impracticable to bring them all before the Court." as generations yet unborn.
 The minors further asseverate that they "represent their generation as  Indeed, they can, for themselves, for others of their generation and for
well as generations yet unborn.” the succeeding generations, file the present class suit.
ARGUMENT OF PETITIONERS  Their personality to sue in behalf of the succeeding generations can
only be based on the concept of intergenerational responsibility
 Respondents have granted TLAs to various corporations to cut the insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned.
aggregate area of 3.89 million hectares for commercial logging  Every generation has a responsibility to the next to preserve the
purposes. rhythm and harmony of nature for the full enjoyment of a balanced and
 They claim that at the present rate of deforestation the PH will be healthful ecology.
bereft of forest resources after the end of the decade, if not earlier.  The minors' assertion of their right to a sound environment also entails
 The continued allowance by respondents of TLA holders to cut and the performance of the duty to ensure the protection of that right for
deforest the remaining forest stands will work great damage and the generations to come.
irreparable injury to plaintiffs — especially plaintiff minors and their ISSUE #2: W/N petitioners failed to assert a specific legal right, as ruled by
successors — who may never see, use, benefit from and enjoy this the RTC – NO
rare and unique natural resource treasure.
 We have a clear and constitutional right to a balanced and healthful  The complaint focuses on one specific fundamental legal right — the
ecology under the Constitution. right to a balanced and healthful ecology (Sec. 16, Art.2 of the Consti)
 We are entitled to protection by the State in its capacity as the parens  While the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is to be found
patriae. 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.
ARGUMENT OF RESPONDENT FACTORAN – he filed a motion to dismiss
 Such right belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it  Assuming that a law has actually been passed mandating
concerns nothing less than self-preservation and self-perpetuation. cancellations or modifications, it cannot be said that such law is a
 The right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries with it the violation of the non-impairment clause.
correlative duty to refrain from impairing the environment.  This is because by its very nature and purpose, such a law constitutes
 This right is further given significance under the following laws: a valid exercise of the police power by the State for the purpose of
o EO 192 – created the DENR, the primary government agency advancing the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology,
responsible for the conservation, management and promoting their health and enhancing the general welfare.
development of our natural resources  The non-impairment clause must yield to the police power of the state.
o PD 1151 and PD 1152 - Philippine Environmental Policy and
the Philippine Environment Code, which declared a continuing
policy of the State to create, develop, maintain and improve Made by: JMalcontento
the condition of our natural resources.
 Having established a clear legal right, as well as DENR’s duty to
protect such right, a denial of that right by the other who has the duty
to respect or protect the same gives rise to a cause of action.
 However, 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.
ISSUE #3 – W/N the current issue involves a political question – NO

 What is principally involved is the enforcement of a right alongside


policies already formulated and expressed in legislation.
 The political issue doctrine is no longer an obstacle, given the
expanded power of the judiciary to determine GAOD under the 1987
Constitution.
ISSUE #4 – W/N the revocation of TLAs will violate the non-impairment of
contracts clause of the Consti – NO

 “No law impairing, the obligation of contracts shall be passed”


 Every timber license must be read Sec. 20 of the Forestry Reform
Code (PD 705).
o “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.”
o All licenses may be revoked or rescinded by executive action.
 A TLA is not a contract, property or a property right protested by the
due process clause of the Constitution. It is a mere permit or privilege
extended by the State.
 Assuming that TLAs are contracts, the instant case does not involve
a law or even an executive issuance declaring the cancellation or
modification of existing TLAs.