Oposa v. Factoran

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Oposa v. Factoran
Seal of the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines.svg
CourtSupreme Court of the Philippines
Full case nameJuan Antonio, Anna Rosario and Jose Alfonso, all surnamed Oposa, minors, and represented by their parents Antonio and Rizalina Oposa, et al. vs. Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr., in his capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Eriberto U. Rosario, Presiding Judge of the RTC, Makati, Branch 66[1]
DecidedJuly 30, 1993 (1993-07-30)
Citation(s)224 SCRA 792
Case history
Appealed fromRegional Trial Court of Makati, Metro Manila
Case opinions
Concurring Opinion: Florentino Feliciano
Court membership
Judges sittingHilario Davide Jr., Isagani Cruz, Teodoro Padilla, Abdulwahid Bidin, Carolina Griño-Aquino, Florenz Regalado, Flerida Ruth Pineda-Romero, Rodolfo A. Nocon, Josue Bellosillo, Jose Melo, Camilo Quiason, Florentino Feliciano, Andres Narvasa(Chief Justice; took no part), Reynato Puno(took no part), Jose C. Vitug (took no part)
Case opinions
Decision byHilario Davide Jr.

Oposa vs. Factoran is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the Philippines which recognizes the doctrine of Intergenerational Responsibility on the environment in the Philippine legal system. The case is a contributor to the development of international environmental law.

Background and History[edit]

The Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources(DENR) and his predecessors have granted timber license agreements (TLA) to various corporations to cut the aggregate area of 3.89 million hectares for commercial logging purposes.

Petitioners, through their parents, sought to make the DENR Secretary stop issuing licenses to cut timber, invoking their right to a healthy environment pursuant to Sections 15 and 16 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines. The petitioners further asserted that they "represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn." They further claimed that the Secretary committed grave abuse of discretion in granting TLAs to cover more areas for logging than what is available. Respondent, on the other hand, filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that the complaint had no cause of action against him and that it raises a political question.

The Judge of the Regional Trial Court(RTC) of Makati sustained the dismissal and ruled that granting of the relief prayed for by petitioners would result in the impairment of contracts which is prohibited by the Constitution.[1]

Decision[edit]

Doctrine of Intergenerational Responsibility[edit]

The Court did not agree with the arguments of the respondent. The complaint focuses on one fundamental legal right -- the right to a balanced and healthful ecology which is incorporated in the Constitution. It carries with it the duty to refrain from impairing the environment and implies, among many other things, the judicious management and conservation of the country's forests. Section 4 of E.O. 192 expressly mandates the DENR to be the primary government agency responsible for the governing and supervising the exploration, utilization, development and conservation of the country's natural resources. Such policy is also substantially re-stated in the Administrative Code of 1987. Both E.O. 192 and Administrative Code of 1987 have set the objectives which will serve as the bases for policy formation, and have defined the powers and functions of the DENR. Thus, right of the petitioners to a balanced and healthful ecology is as clear as DENR's duty to protect and advance the said right.

The Court found 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."

The Court further elicited that every generation has a responsibility to the next to preserve that rhythm and harmony for the full enjoyment of a balanced and healthful ecology.[1]

Aftermath[edit]

After the decision, the case is recognized in its contribution in the development of international environmental law.[2][3]

In 2008, Antonio Oposa, a Filipino Lawyer, was awarded by Center for International Environmental Law for his contributions to the development and implementation of international environmental law in his native country and internationally.[4]

References[edit]

  • This article incorporates text from Philippine Supreme Court documents, which are in the public domain.
  1. ^ a b c 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; G.R. No. 101083; 224 SCRA 792; July 30, 1993.
  2. ^ Hassan, Parvez (2017). "Role of the South in the Development of International Environmental Law". Chinese Journal of Environmental Law: 133–157.
  3. ^ Schrijver; Weiss (ed.). International Law And Sustainable Development: Principles And Practice. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 660–662. ISBN 9789004141735.
  4. ^ "Pinoy wins top US environmental law award". ABS-CBN. ABS-CBN News. 24 April 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2018.