In fact in the case of Philip Morris, Inc v.

Court of Appeals[8] the Philippine Supreme Court ruled that the fact that international law has been made part of the law of the land does not by any means imply the primacy of the international law over the national law in the municipal sphere. Clearly therefore, extradition treaty as domestic law cannot be superior to the Constitution. In interpreting provisions of a treaty one cannot depart from the constraints and limitations of the Constitution by saying, like in the case of extradition, that extradition rules are sui generis. Finally, the government should always bear in mind that the cherished liberties guaranteed by the Constitution are non-negotiable rights. In the words of Justice Isagani Cruz, while authority and liberty must co-exist, the highest function of authority is to exalt liberty. In light of the recent Olalia case, this writer respectfully posits that the original ruling laid down in Lantion should be reinstated for being in consonance with the libertarian principle of justice.

Secretary of Justice vs. Judge Lantion GR 139465 Facts: On June 18, 1999, the Department of Justice received from the Department of Foreign Affairs of the United States requesting for the extradition of Mark Jimenez for various crimes in violation of US laws. In compliance with the related municipal law, specifically Presidential Decree No. 1069 Prescribing the Procedure for Extradition of Persons Who Have committed Crimes in a Foreign Country and the established Extradition Treaty Between the Government of the Philippines and the Government of the United States of America , the department proceeded with proceeded with the designation of a panel of attorneys to conduct a technical evaluation and assessment as provided for in the presidential decree and the treaty. The respondent requested for a copy of the official extradition request as well as the documents and papers submitted therein. The petitioner denied the request as it alleges that such information is confidential in nature and that it is premature to provide such document as the process is not a preliminary investigation but a mere evaluation. Therefore, the constitutional rights of the accused are not yet available. Issue: 1.Whether or not private respondent, Mark B. Jimenez, be granted access to the official extradition request and documents with an opportunity to file a comment on or opposition thereto 2.Whether or not private respondent s entitlement to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the proceedings constitute a breach of the legal duties of the Philippine Government under the RP-US Extradition Treaty Ruling: The Supreme Court ruled that the private respondent be furnished a copy of the extradition request and its supporting papers and to give him a reasonable period of time within which to file his comment with supporting evidence. In this case, there exists a clear conflict between the obligation of the Philippine Government to comply with the provisions of the treaty and its equally significant role of protection of its citizens of its right of due process. The processes outlined in the treaty and in the presidential decree already pose an impending threat to a prospective extraditee s liberty as early as the evaluation stage. It is not an imagined threat to his liberty, but a very imminent one. On the other hand, granting due process to the extradition case causes delay in the process.The rule of pacta sunt servanda, one of the oldest and most fundamental maxims of international law, requires the parties to a treaty to keep their agreement therein in good faith. The doctrine of incorporation is applied whenever municipal tribunals are confronted with situations in which there appears to be a conflict between a rule of international law and the provisions of the constitution or statute of a local state. Efforts should be done to harmonize them. In a situation, however, where the conflict is irreconcilable and a choice has to be made between a rule of international law and municipal law, jurisprudence dictates that municipal law should be upheld by the municipal courts. The doctrine of incorporation decrees that rules of international law are given equal standing, but are not superior to, national legislative enactments.In this case, there is no conflict between international law and municipal law. The United States and the Philippines share a mutual concern about the suppression and punishment of crime in their respective jurisdictions. At the same time, both States accord common due process protection to their respective citizens. In fact, neither the Treaty nor the Extradition Law precludes the rights of due process from a prospective extradite.

SECRETARY OF JUSTICE v. LANTION [322 SCRA 160 (2000)] Nature: Petition for review of a decision of the Manila RTC Facts: On June 18, 1999 the Department of Justice received from the Department of Foreign Affairs a request for the extradition of private respondent Mark Jimenez to the U.S. The Grand Jury Indictment, the warrant for his arrest, and other supporting documents for said extradition were attached along with the request. Charges include: 1. Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the US 2. Attempt to evade or defeat tax 3. Fraud by wire, radio, or television 4. False statement or entries 5. Election contribution in name of another The Department of Justice (DOJ), through a designated panel proceeded with the technical evaluation and assessment of the extradition treaty which they found having matters needed to be addressed. Respondent, then requested for copies of all the documents included in the extradition request and for him to be given ample time to assess it. The Secretary of Justice denied request on the ff. grounds: 1. He found it premature to secure him copies prior to the completion of the evaluation. At that point in time, the DOJ is in the process of evaluating whether the procedures and requirements under the relevant law (PD 1069 Philippine Extradition Law) and treaty (RP-US Extradition Treaty) have been complied with by the Requesting Government. Evaluation by the DOJ of the documents is not a preliminary investigation like in criminal cases making the constitutionally guaranteed rights

of the accused in criminal prosecution inapplicable. 2. The U.S. requested for the prevention of unauthorized disclosure of the information in the documents. 3. Finally, country is bound to Vienna convention on law of treaties such that every treaty in force is binding upon the parties. The respondent filed for petition of mandamus, certiorari, and prohibition. The RTC of NCR ruled in favor of the respondent. Secretary of Justice was made to issue a copy of the requested papers, as well as conducting further proceedings. Issues: 1. WON private respondent is entitled to the two basic due process rights of notice and hearing Yes. §2(a) of PD 1086 defines extradition as the removal of an accused from the Philippines with the object of placing him at the disposal of foreign authorities to enable the requesting state or government to hold him in connection with any criminal investigation directed against him in connection with any criminal investigation directed against him or the execution of a penalty imposed on him under the penal or criminal law of the requesting state or government. Although the inquisitorial power exercised by the DOJ as an administrative agency due to the failure of the DFA to comply lacks any judicial discretion, it primarily sets the wheels for the extradition process which may ultimately result in the deprivation of the liberty of the prospective extradite. This deprivation can be effected at two stages: The provisional arrest of the prospective extradite pending the submission of the request & the temporary arrest of the prospective extradite during the pendency of the extradition petition in court. Clearly, there s an impending threat to a prospective extraditee s liberty as early as during the evaluation stage. Because of such consequences, the evaluation process is akin to an administrative agency conducting an investigative proceeding, the consequences of which are essentially criminal since such technical assessment sets off or commences the procedure for & ultimately the deprivation of liberty of a prospective extradite. In essence, therefore, the evaluation process partakes of the nature of a criminal investigation. There are certain constitutional rights that are ordinarily available only in criminal prosecution. But the Court has ruled in other cases that where the investigation of an administrative proceeding may result in forfeiture of life, liberty, or property, the administrative proceedings are deemed criminal or penal, & such forfeiture partakes the nature of a penalty. In the case at bar, similar to a preliminary investigation, the evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings which may result in the filing of an information against the respondent, can possibly lead to his arrest, & to the deprivation of his liberty. Thus, the extraditee must be accorded due process rights of notice & hearing according to A3 §14(1) & (2), as well as A3 §7 the right of the people to information on matters of public concern & the corollary right to access to official records & documents The court held that the evaluation process partakes of the nature of a criminal investigation, having consequences which will result in deprivation of liberty of the prospective extradite. A favorable action in an extradition request exposes a person to eventual extradition to a foreign country, thus exhibiting the penal aspect of the process. The evaluation process itself is like a preliminary investigation since both procedures may have the same result the arrest and imprisonment of the respondent. The basic rights of notice & hearing are applicable in criminal, civil & administrative proceedings. Non-observance of these rights will invalidate the proceedings. Individuals are entitled to be notified of any pending case affecting their interests, & upon notice, may claim the right to appear therein & present their side. Rights to notice and hearing: Dispensable in 3 cases: a. When there is an urgent need for immediate action (preventive suspension in administrative charges, padlocking filthy restaurants, cancellation of passport). b. Where there is tentativeness of administrative action, & the respondent isn t prevented from enjoying the right to notice & hearing at a later time (summary distraint & levy of the property of a delinquent taxpayer, replacement of an appointee) c. Twin rights have been offered, but the right to exercise them had not been claimed. 2. WON this entitlement constitutes a breach of the legal commitments and obligation of the Philippine Government under the RP-US Treaty? No. The U.S. and the Philippines share mutual concern about the suppression and punishment of crime in their respective jurisdictions. Both states accord common due process protection to their respective citizens. The administrative investigation doesn t fall under the three exceptions to the due process of notice and hearing in the Sec. 3 Rules 112 of the Rules of Court. 3. WON there s any conflict between private respondent s basic due process rights & provisions of RP-US Extradition treaty No. Doctrine of incorporation under international law, as applied in most countries, decrees that rules of international law are given equal standing with, but are not superior to national legislative acts. Treaty can repeal statute and statute can repeal treaty. No conflict. Veil of secrecy is lifted during trial. Request should impose veil at any stage. Judgment: Petition dismissed for lack of merit. Kapunan, separate concurring opinion: While the evaluation process conducted by the DOJ is not exactly a preliminary investigation of criminal cases, it is akin to a preliminary investigation because it involves the basic constitutional rights of the person sought to be extradited. A person ordered extradited is arrested, forcibly taken from his house, separated from his family and delivered to a foreign state. His rights of abode, to privacy, liberty and pursuit of happiness are taken away from him a fate as harsh and cruel as a conviction of a criminal offense. For this reason, he is entitled to have access to the evidence against him and the right to controvert them. Puno, dissenting: Case at bar does not involve guilt or innocence of an accused but the interpretation of an extradition treaty where at stake is our government s international obligation to surrender to a foreign state a citizen of its own so he can be tried for an alleged offense committed within that jurisdiction. Panganiban, dissenting: Instant petition refers only to the evaluation stage.

Secretary of Justice vs. Lantion, G.R. No. 139465, Oct. 17, 2000 FACTS: On June 18, 1999, the Department of Justice received from the Department of Foreign Affairs U.S Note Verbale No. 0522 containing a request for the extradition of private respondent Mark Jiminez to the United States. On the same day petitioner designate and authorizing a panel of attorneys to take charge of and to handle the case. Pending evaluation of the aforestated extradition documents, Mark Jiminez through counsel, wrote a letter to Justice Secretary requesting copies of the official extradition request from the U.S Government and that he be given ample time to comment on the request after he shall have received copies of the requested papers but the petitioner denied the request for the consistency of Article 7 of the RP-US Extradition Treaty stated in Article 7 that the Philippine Government must present the interests of the United States in any proceedings arising out of a request for extradition. ISSUE: Whether or not private respondent has right to notice and hearing RULING: Rationale of Extradition Treaty; Summary Proceeding It cannot be gainsaid that today, countries like the Philippines forge extradition treaties to arrest the dramatic rise of international and transnational crimes like terrorism and drug trafficking. Extradition treaties provide the assurance that the punishment of these crimes will not be frustrated by the frontiers of territorial sovereignty. Implicit in the treaties should be the unbending commitment that the perpetrators of these crimes will not be coddled by any signatory state. It ought to follow that the RP-US Extradition Treaty calls for an interpretation that will minimize if not prevent the escape of extraditees from the long arm of the law and expedite their trial. The submission of the private respondent, that as a probable extraditee under the RP-US Extradition Treaty he should be furnished a copy of the US government request for his extradition and its supporting documents even while they are still under evaluation by petitioner Secretary of Justice, does not meet this desideratum. The fear of the petitioner Secretary of Justice that the demanded notice is equivalent to a notice to flee must be deeply rooted on the experience of the executive branch of our government. As it comes from the branch of our government in charge of the faithful execution of our laws, it deserves the careful consideration of this Court. In addition, it cannot be gainsaid that private respondent s demand for advance notice can delay the summary process of executive evaluation of the extradition request and its accompanying papers. The foresight of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes did not miss this danger. In 1911, he held: "It is common in extradition cases to attempt to bring to bear all the factitious niceties of a criminal trial at common law. But it is a waste of time . . . if there is presented, even in somewhat untechnical form according to our ideas, such reasonable ground to suppose him guilty as to make it proper that he should be tried, good faith to the demanding government requires his surrender." (emphasis supplied) We erode no right of an extraditee when we do not allow time to stand still on his prosecution. Justice is best served when done without delay. Extradition Proceeding is Sui Generis; Not Criminal An extradition proceeding is sui generis. It is not a criminal proceeding which will call into operation all the rights of an accused as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. To begin with, the process of extradition does not involve the determination of the guilt or innocence of an accused. His guilt or innocence will be adjudged in the court of the state where he will be extradited. Hence, as a rule, constitutional rights that are only relevant to determine the guilt or innocence of an accused cannot be invoked by an extraditee especially by one whose extradition papers are still undergoing evaluation. As held by the US Supreme Court in United States v. Galanis: "An extradition proceeding is not a criminal prosecution, and the constitutional safeguards that accompany a criminal trial in this country do not shield an accused from extradition pursuant to a valid treaty." There are other differences between an extradition proceeding and a criminal proceeding. An extradition proceeding is summary in nature while criminal proceedings involve a full-blown trial. In contradistinction to a criminal proceeding, the rules of evidence in an extradition proceeding allow admission of evidence under less stringent standards. In terms of the quantum of evidence to be satisfied, a criminal case requires proof beyond reasonable doubt for conviction while a fugitive may be ordered extradited "upon showing of the existence of a prima facie case." Finally, unlike in a criminal case where judgment becomes executory upon being rendered final, in an extradition proceeding, our courts may adjudge an individual extraditable but the President has the final discretion to extradite him. The United States adheres to a similar practice whereby the Secretary of State exercises wide discretion in balancing the equities of the case and the demands of the nation's foreign relations before making the ultimate decision to extradite. As an extradition proceeding is not criminal in character and the evaluation stage in an extradition proceeding is not akin to a preliminary investigation, the due process safeguards in the latter do not necessarily apply to the former. This we hold for the procedural due process required by a given set of circumstances "must begin with a determination of the precise nature of the government function involved as well as the private interest that has been affected by governmental action." The concept of due process is flexible for "not all situations calling for procedural safeguards call for the same kind of procedure." Constitutional Right to Due Process vis-a-vis State s Obligation to Treaty Considering that in the case at bar, the extradition proceeding is only at its evaluation stage, the nature of the right being claimed by the private respondent is nebulous and the degree of prejudice he will allegedly suffer is weak, we accord greater weight to the interests espoused by the government thru the petitioner Secretary of Justice. In Angara v. Electoral Commission, we held that the "Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and the judicial departments of the government." Under our constitutional scheme, executive power is vested in the President of the Philippines. Executive power includes, among others, the power to contract or guarantee foreign loans and the power to enter into treaties or international agreements. The task of safeguarding that these treaties are duly honored devolves upon the executive department which has the competence and authority to so act in the international arena. It is traditionally held that the President has power and even supremacy over the country s foreign relations. The executive department is aptly accorded deference on matters of foreign relations considering the President s most comprehensive and most confidential information about the international scene of which he is regularly briefed by our diplomatic and consular officials. His access to ultra-sensitive military intelligence data is also unlimited. The deference we give to the executive department is dictated by the principle of separation of powers. This principle is one of the cornerstones of our democratic government. It cannot be eroded without endangering our government.

The Philippines also has a national interest to help in suppressing crimes and one way to do it is to facilitate the extradition of persons covered by treaties duly entered by our government. More and more, crimes are becoming the concern of one world. Laws involving crimes and crime prevention are undergoing universalization. One manifest purpose of this trend towards globalization is to deny easy refuge to a criminal whose activities threaten the peace and progress of civilized countries. It is to the great interest of the Philippines to be part of this irreversible movement in light of its vulnerability to crimes, especially transnational crimes. In tilting the balance in favor of the interests of the State, the Court stresses that it is not ruling that the private respondent has no right to due process at all throughout the length and breadth of the extrajudicial proceedings. Procedural due process requires a determination of what process is due, when it is due, and the degree of what is due. Stated otherwise, a prior determination should be made as to whether procedural protections are at all due and when they are due, which in turn depends on the extent to which an individual will be "condemned to suffer grievous loss." We have explained why an extraditee has no right to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition process. As aforesaid, P.D. No. 1069 which implements the RP-US Extradition Treaty affords an extraditee sufficient opportunity to meet the evidence against him once the petition is filed in court. The time for the extraditee to know the basis of the request for his extradition is merely moved to the filing in court of the formal petition for extradition. The extraditee's right to know is momentarily withheld during the evaluation stage of the extradition process to accommodate the more compelling interest of the State to prevent escape of potential extraditees which can be precipitated by premature information of the basis of the request for his extradition. No less compelling at that stage of the extradition proceedings is the need to be more deferential to the judgment of a co-equal branch of the government, the Executive, which has been endowed by our Constitution with greater power over matters involving our foreign relations. Needless to state, this balance of interests is not a static but a moving balance which can be adjusted as the extradition process moves from the administrative stage to the judicial stage and to the execution stage depending on factors that will come into play. In sum, we rule that the temporary hold on private respondent's privilege of notice and hearing is a soft restraint on his right to due process which will not deprive him of fundamental fairness should he decide to resist the request for his extradition to the United States. There is no denial of due process as long as fundamental fairness is assured a party.

PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE Burden of proof lies on his accusers to prove him guilty Equiponderance of Evidence (Equipoise Doctrine) when preponderance of evidence is at equipoise, court will find for the defendant; when the scale stand at an equipoise and there is nothing in evidence to incline it either way, the court shall rule against the party who has the burden of proof Proof beyond reasonable doubt not to be equated with absolute certainty; moral certainty, or that degree of proof which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind

Prosecution has Burden of Proof

In the case of Government of the United States v. Hon. Purganan[4] the court had the occasion to resolve the issue as to whether or not extraditees are entitled to the right to bail and provisional liberty while the extradition proceedings are pending. Private respondent (extraditee) invoked the constitutional provision under the 1987 Constitution, that persons are entitled to bail except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua or death when evidence of guilt is strong.[5] The court, in rejecting the claim of private respondent held that said constitutional provision is applicable only in criminal cases but not to extradition proceedings. Again, the court reiterated its pronouncement in the Lantion case that the Ultimate purpose of extradition proceedings in court is only to determine whether the extradition request complies with the Extradition treaty, and whether the person sought is extraditable. [6] Equally important, is the pronouncement that the court of the requested state has the discretion to grant or deny bail and that as a rule bail is not a matter of right in extradition cases. But the court enunciated that there are exceptions to this rule if only to serve the ends of justice, (1) once granted bail, the applicant will not be a flight risk or danger to the community; (2) that there exist special, humanitarian and compelling circumstances. Having no statutory basis the applicant bears the burden of proving these exceptions with clarity and precision. Unfortunately, the court exercised its discretion in denying bail to private respondent who considered him as a flight risk when he fled the United States after learning of the criminal charges filed against him.

Gov t. of the USA vs. Purganan, G.R. No. 148571, Sept. 24, 2002 FACTS: Pursuant to the existing RP-US Extradition Treaty, the US Government requested the extradition of Mark Jimenez. A hearing was held to determine whether a warrant of arrest should be issued. Afterwards, such warrant was issued but the trial court allowed Jimenez to post bail for his provisional liberty. ISSUE: Whether or not extraditee is entitled to notice and hearing before issuance of warrant of arrest Whether or not the right to bail is available in extradition proceedings

y y

RULING: Five Postulates of Extradition

1. Extradition Is a Major Instrument for the Suppression of Crime. First, extradition treaties are entered into for the purpose of suppressing crime by facilitating the arrest and the custodial transfer of a fugitive from one state to the other. With the advent of easier and faster means of international travel, the flight of affluent criminals from one country to another for the purpose of committing crime and evading prosecution has become more frequent. Accordingly, governments are adjusting their methods of dealing with criminals and crimes that transcend international boundaries. Today, a majority of nations in the world community have come to look upon extradition as the major effective instrument of international co-operation in the suppression of crime. [30] It is the only regular system that has been devised to return fugitives to the jurisdiction of a court competent to try them in accordance with municipal and international law. xxx Indeed, in this era of globalization, easier and faster international travel, and an expanding ring of international crimes and criminals, we cannot afford to be an isolationist state. We need to cooperate with other states in order to improve our chances of suppressing crime in our own country. 2. The Requesting State Will Accord Due Process to the Accused Second, an extradition treaty presupposes that both parties thereto have examined, and that both accept and trust, each other s legal system and judicial process. More pointedly, our duly authorized representative s signature on an extradition treaty signifies our confidence in the capacity and the willingness of the other state to protect the basic rights of the person sought to be extradited. That signature signifies our full faith that the accused will be given, upon extradition to the requesting state, all relevant and basic rights in the criminal proceedings that will take place therein; otherwise, the treaty would not have been signed, or would have been directly attacked for its unconstitutionality. 3. The Proceedings Are Sui Generis Third, as pointed out in Secretary of Justice v. Lantion, extradition proceedings are not criminal in nature. In criminal proceedings, the constitutional rights of the accused are at fore; in extradition which is sui generis -- in a class by itself -- they are not. An extradition [proceeding] is sui generis. It is not a criminal proceeding which will call into operation all the rights of an accused as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. To begin with, the process of extradition does not involve the determination of the guilt or innocence of an accused. His guilt or innocence will be adjudged in the court of the state where he will be extradited. Hence, as a rule, constitutional rights that are only relevant to determine the guilt or innocence of an accused cannot be invoked by an extraditee x x x. xxxxxxxxx There are other differences between an extradition proceeding and a criminal proceeding. An extradition proceeding is summary in nature while criminal proceedings involve a full-blown trial. In contradistinction to a criminal proceeding, the rules of evidence in an extradition proceeding allow admission of evidence under less stringent standards. In terms of the quantum of evidence to be satisfied, a criminal case requires proof beyond reasonable doubt for conviction while a fugitive may be ordered extradited upon showing of the existence of a prima facie case. Finally, unlike in a criminal case where judgment becomes executory upon being rendered final, in an extradition proceeding, our courts may adjudge an individual extraditable but the President has the final discretion to extradite him. The United States adheres to a similar practice whereby the Secretary of State exercises wide discretion in balancing the equities of the case and the demands of the nation s foreign relations before making the ultimate decision to extradite. Given the foregoing, it is evident that the extradition court is not called upon to ascertain the guilt or the innocence of the person sought to be extradited. Such determination during the extradition proceedings will only result in needless duplication and delay. Extradition is merely a measure of international judicial assistance through which a person charged with or convicted of a crime is restored to a jurisdiction with the best claim to try that person. It is not part of the function of the assisting authorities to enter into questions that are the prerogative of that jurisdiction. The ultimate purpose of extradition proceedings in court is only to determine whether the extradition request complies with the Extradition Treaty, and whether the person sought is extraditable. 4. Compliance Shall Be in Good Faith. Fourth, our executive branch of government voluntarily entered into the Extradition Treaty, and our legislative branch ratified it. Hence, the Treaty carries the presumption that its implementation will serve the national interest. Fulfilling our obligations under the Extradition Treaty promotes comity with the requesting state. On the other hand, failure to fulfill our obligations thereunder paints a bad image of our country before the world community. Such failure would discourage other states from entering into treaties with us, particularly an extradition treaty that hinges on reciprocity. Verily, we are bound by pacta sunt servanda to comply in good faith with our obligations under the Treaty. This principle requires that we deliver the accused to the requesting country if the conditions precedent to extradition, as set forth in the Treaty, are satisfied. In other words, [t]he demanding government, when it has done

all that the treaty and the law require it to do, is entitled to the delivery of the accused on the issue of the proper warrant, and the other government is under obligation to make the surrender. Accordingly, the Philippines must be ready and in a position to deliver the accused, should it be found proper. 5. There Is an Underlying Risk of Flight Fifth, persons to be extradited are presumed to be flight risks. This prima facie presumption finds reinforcement in the experience of the executive branch: nothing short of confinement can ensure that the accused will not flee the jurisdiction of the requested state in order to thwart their extradition to the requesting state. The present extradition case further validates the premise that persons sought to be extradited have a propensity to flee. Indeed, extradition hearings would not even begin, if only the accused were willing to submit to trial in the requesting country. Prior acts of herein respondent -- (1) leaving the requesting state right before the conclusion of his indictment proceedings there; and (2) remaining in the requested state despite learning that the requesting state is seeking his return and that the crimes he is charged with are bailable -- eloquently speak of his aversion to the processes in the requesting state, as well as his predisposition to avoid them at all cost. These circumstances point to an ever-present, underlying high risk of flight. He has demonstrated that he has the capacity and the will to flee. Having fled once, what is there to stop him, given sufficient opportunity, from fleeing a second time? Due Process Is an extraditee entitled to notice and hearing before the issuance of a warrant of arrest? It is significant to note that Section 6 of PD 1069, our Extradition Law, uses the word immediate to qualify the arrest of the accused. This qualification would be rendered nugatory by setting for hearing the issuance of the arrest warrant. Hearing entails sending notices to the opposing parties, receiving facts and arguments from them, and giving them time to prepare and present such facts and arguments. Arrest subsequent to a hearing can no longer be considered immediate. The law could not have intended the word as a mere superfluity but, on the whole, as a means of imparting a sense of urgency and swiftness in the determination of whether a warrant of arrest should be issued. By using the phrase if it appears, the law further conveys that accuracy is not as important as speed at such early stage. The trial court is not expected to make an exhaustive determination to ferret out the true and actual situation, immediately upon the filing of the petition. From the knowledge and the material then available to it, the court is expected merely to get a good first impression -- a prima facie finding -- sufficient to make a speedy initial determination as regards the arrest and detention of the accused. xxx Even Section 2 of Article III of our Constitution, which is invoked by Jimenez, does not require a notice or a hearing before the issuance of a warrant of arrest. It provides: Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. To determine probable cause for the issuance of arrest warrants, the Constitution itself requires only the examination -- under oath or affirmation -- of complainants and the witnesses they may produce. There is no requirement to notify and hear the accused before the issuance of warrants of arrest. xxx At most, in cases of clear insufficiency of evidence on record, judges merely further examine complainants and their witnesses. In the present case, validating the act of respondent judge and instituting the practice of hearing the accused and his witnesses at this early stage would be discordant with the rationale for the entire system. If the accused were allowed to be heard and necessarily to present evidence during the prima facie determination for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, what would stop him from presenting his entire plethora of defenses at this stage -- if he so desires -- in his effort to negate a prima facie finding? Such a procedure could convert the determination of a prima facie case into a full-blown trial of the entire proceedings and possibly make trial of the main case superfluous. This scenario is also anathema to the summary nature of extraditions. That the case under consideration is an extradition and not a criminal action is not sufficient to justify the adoption of a set of procedures more protective of the accused. If a different procedure were called for at all, a more restrictive one -- not the opposite -- would be justified in view of respondent s demonstrated predisposition to flee. Right to Bail Extradition Different from Ordinary Criminal Proceedings We agree with petitioner. As suggested by the use of the word conviction, the constitutional provision on bail quoted above, as well as Section 4 of Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, applies only when a person has been arrested and detained for violation of Philippine criminal laws. It does not apply to extradition proceedings, because extradition courts do not render judgments of conviction or acquittal. Moreover, the constitutional right to bail flows from the presumption of innocence in favor of every accused who should not be subjected to the loss of freedom as

thereafter he would be entitled to acquittal, unless his guilt be proved beyond reasonable doubt. It follows that the constitutional provision on bail will not apply to a case like extradition, where the presumption of innocence is not at issue. The provision in the Constitution stating that the right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended does not detract from the rule that the constitutional right to bail is available only in criminal proceedings. It must be noted that the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus finds application only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion. Hence, the second sentence in the constitutional provision on bail merely emphasizes the right to bail in criminal proceedings for the aforementioned offenses. It cannot be taken to mean that the right is available even in extradition proceedings that are not criminal in nature. That the offenses for which Jimenez is sought to be extradited are bailable in the United States is not an argument to grant him one in the present case. To stress, extradition proceedings are separate and distinct from the trial for the offenses for which he is charged. He should apply for bail before the courts trying the criminal cases against him, not before the extradition court. Exceptions to the No Bail Rule The rule, we repeat, is that bail is not a matter of right in extradition cases. However, the judiciary has the constitutional duty to curb grave abuse of discretion and tyranny, as well as the power to promulgate rules to protect and enforce constitutional rights. Furthermore, we believe that the right to due process is broad enough to include the grant of basic fairness to extraditees. Indeed, the right to due process extends to the life, liberty or property of every person. It is dynamic and resilient, adaptable to every situation calling for its application. Accordingly and to best serve the ends of justice, we believe and so hold that, after a potential extraditee has been arrested or placed under the custody of the law, bail may be applied for and granted as an exception, only upon a clear and convincing showing (1) that, once granted bail, the applicant will not be a flight risk or a danger to the community; and (2) that there exist special, humanitarian and compelling circumstances including, as a matter of reciprocity, those cited by the highest court in the requesting state when it grants provisional liberty in extradition cases therein. Since this exception has no express or specific statutory basis, and since it is derived essentially from general principles of justice and fairness, the applicant bears the burden of proving the above two-tiered requirement with clarity, precision and emphatic forcefulness. The Court realizes that extradition is basically an executive, not a judicial, responsibility arising from the presidential power to conduct foreign relations. In its barest concept, it partakes of the nature of police assistance amongst states, which is not normally a judicial prerogative. Hence, any intrusion by the courts into the exercise of this power should be characterized by caution, so that the vital international and bilateral interests of our country will not be unreasonably impeded or compromised. In short, while this Court is ever protective of the sporting idea of fair play, it also recognizes the limits of its own prerogatives and the need to fulfill international obligations. Bail is a Matter of Discretion on the part of Appellate Court

Aglipay v. Ruiz FACTS: Issuing and selling postage stamps commemorative of the Thirty-third International Eucharistic Congress. In May, 1936, the Director of Posts announced in the dailies of Manila that he would order the issues of postage stamps commemorating the celebration in the City of Manila of the Thirty-third International Eucharistic Congress, organized by the Roman Catholic Church.    the writ of prohibition is not the proper legal remedy in the instant case writ may properly restrain ministerial functions prohibition as an extraordinary legal writ will not issue to restrain or control the performance of other than judicial or quasi-judicial functions (50 C. J., 6580, its issuance and enforcement are regulated by statute and in this jurisdiction may issue to . . . inferior tribunals, corporations, boards, or persons, whether excercising functions judicial or ministerial, which are without or in excess of the jurisdiction of such tribunal, corporation, board, or person, . . . ." (Secs. 516 and 226, Code of Civil Procedure.)  The terms "judicial" and "ministerial" used with reference to "functions" in the statute are undoubtedly comprehensive and include the challenged act of the respondent Director of Posts in the present case, which act because alleged to be violative of the Constitution is a fortiorari "without or in excess of . . . jurisdiction."  The statutory rule, therefore, in the jurisdiction is that the writ of prohibition is not confined exclusively to courts or tribunals to keep them within the limits of their own jurisdiction and to prevent them from encroaching upon the jurisdiction of other tribunals, but will issue, in appropriate cases, to an officer or person whose acts are without or in excess of his authority  writ is granted, where it is necessary for the orderly administration of justice, or to prevent the use of the strong arm of the law in an oppressive or vindictive manner, or a multiplicity of actions."   violation of the Constitution by the respondent in issuing and selling postage stamps commemorative of the Thirty-third International Eucharistic Congress It is alleged that this action of the respondent is violative of the provisions of section 23, subsection 3, Article VI, of the Constitution of the Philippines 



No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, secretarian, institution, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary as such, except when such priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces or to any penal institution, orphanage, or leprosarium. 

The prohibition herein expressed is a direct corollary of the principle of separation of church and state. Without the necessity of adverting to the historical background of this principle in our country, it is sufficient to say that our history, not to speak of the history of mankind, has taught us that the union of church and state is prejudicial to both, for ocassions might arise when the estate will use the church, and the church the state, as a weapon in the furtherance of their recognized this principle of separation of church and state in the early stages of our constitutional development; it was inserted in the Treaty of Paris between the United States and Spain of December 10, 1898 

Religious freedom, however, as a constitutional mandate is not inhibition of profound reverence for religion and is not denial of its influence in human affairs. Religion as a profession of faith to an active power that binds and elevates man to his Creator is recognized 

Constitution, implored "the aid of Divine Providence, in order to establish a government that shall embody their ideals, conserve and develop the patrimony of the nation, promote the general welfare, and secure to themselves and their posterity the blessings of independence under a regime of justice, liberty and democracy," they thereby manifested reliance upon Him who guides the destinies of men and nations

Act No. 4052 of the Philippine Legislature No. 4052. ? AN ACT APPROPRIATING THE SUM OF SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS AND MAKING THE SAME AVAILABLE OUT OF ANY FUNDS IN THE INSULAR TREASURY NOT OTHERWISE APPROPRIATED FOR THE COST OF PLATES AND PRINTING OF POSTAGE STAMPS WITH NEW DESIGNS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. 

It will be seen that the Act appropriates the sum of sixty thousand pesos for the costs of plates and printing of postage stamps with new designs and other expenses incident thereto, and authorizes the Director of Posts, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, to dispose of the amount appropriated in the manner indicated and "as often as may be deemed advantageous to the Government 



the President of the Philippines in a letter dated September 1, 1936. The respondent alleges that the Government of the Philippines would suffer losses if the writ prayed for is granted. He estimates the revenue to be derived from the sale of the postage stamps in question at P1,618,17.10 and states that there still remain to be sold stamps worth P1,402,279.02. 

Director of Posts is the discretionary power to determine when the issuance of special postage stamps would be "advantageous to the Government." Of course, the phrase "advantageous to the Government" does not authorize the violation of the Constitution . It does not authorize the appropriation, use or application of public money or property for the use, benefit or support of a particular sect or church 



was not inspired by any sectarian denomination. The stamps were not issue and sold for the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church stamps given to that church, Director of Posts of June 5, 1936, incorporated on page 2 of the petitioner's complaint, advertise the Philippines and attract more tourist to this country." The officials concerned merely, took advantage of an event considered of international importance "to give publicity to the Philippines and its people" 

 

showing a Catholic Church chalice as originally planned, contains a map of the Philippines and the location of the City of Manila. Manila, the capital of the Philippines, as the seat of that congress appeal of counsel for the petitioner to maintain inviolate the complete separation of church and state and curb any attempt to infringe by indirection a constitutional inhibition

COURT DECISION:

The petition for a writ of prohibition is hereby denied, without pronouncement as to costs. So ordered.

OPINION: The writ of prohibition filed by the petitioner MOns. Gregorio Aglipay against respondent, Director of Posts lacks merit. Their contention that selling such postage stamps commemorating the Thirty-third International Eucharistic Congress violates the Constitution of the Philippines particularly Sec. 23 Art. VI of the

constitution. Clearly there should be separation of the Church and state as stated in the Treaty of Paris between US and Spain in December 10, 1898 which affirmed by Philippines Bill 1902 and in Autonomy Act of August 29, 1916. But in Act No. 4052, it authorizes The Director of Posts upon The Approval of the Sec. of Public Works and Comm. to dispose the whole P 60, 000 if it finds that it would be beneficial and advantageous to the Philippine Government and was approved by the President in a letter dated September 1, 1936. The printing and selling would infuse millions of pesos to the national government and no single centavo would be deposited or intended for the coffers of the Roman Catholic Church and the design was changed to showcase Manila and capitalized on an event not to benefit a particular religion of the Roman Catholic Chruch. Clearly in my opinion the Director of Posts exercised his wise discretion to generate funds for the Philippine government by printing and selling commemorative 33 International Eucharistic Congress postage stamp.
rd

RECOMMENDATION: It is recommended that the writ of prohibition be denied.

Aglipay v. Ruiz GR 45459, 13 March 1937 (64 Phil 201) First Division, Laurel (p): 5 concur. Facts: In May 1936, the Director of Posts announced in the dailies of Manila that he would order the issuance of postage stamps commemorating the celebration in the City of Manila of the 33rd International Eucharistic Congress, organized by the Roman Catholic Church. The petitioner, Mons. Gregorio Aglipay, Supreme Head of the Philippine Independent Church, in the fulfillment of what he considers to be a civic duty, requested Vicente Sotto, Esq., member of the Philippine Bar, to denounce the matter to the President of the Philippines. In spite of the protest of the petitioner s attorney, the Director of Posts publicly announced having sent to the United States the designs of the postage for printing. The said stamps were actually issued and sold though the greater part thereof remained unsold. The further sale of the stamps was sought to be prevented by the petitioner. Issue: Whether the issuance of the postage stamps was in violation of the Constitution. Held: Religious freedom as a constitutional mandate is not inhibition of profound reverence for religion and is not a denial of its influence in human affairs. Religion as a profession of faith to an active power that binds and elevates man to his Creator is recognized. And, in so far as it instills into the minds the purest principles of morality, its influence is deeply felt and highly appreciated. When the Filipino people, in the preamble of their Constitution, implored the aid of Divine Providence, in order to establish a government that shall embody their ideals, conserve and develop the patrimony of the nation, promote the general welfare, and secure to themselves and their posterity the blessings of independence under a regime of justice, liberty and democracy, they thereby manifested their intense religious nature and placed unfaltering reliance upon Him who guides the destinies of men and nations. The elevating influence of religion in human society is recognized here as elsewhere. Act 4052 contemplates no religious purpose in view. What it gives the Director of Posts is the discretionary power to determine when the issuance of special postage stamps would be advantageous to the Government. Of course, the phrase advantageous to the Government does not authorize the violation of the Constitution; i.e. to appropriate, use or apply of public money or property for the use, benefit or support of a particular sect or church. In the case at bar, the issuance of the postage stamps was not inspired by any sectarian feeling to favor a particular church or religious denominations. The stamps were not issued and sold for the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church, nor were money derived from the sale of the stamps given to that church. The purpose of the issuing of the stamps was to take advantage of an event considered of international importance to give publicity to the Philippines and its people and attract more tourists to the country. Thus, instead of showing a Catholic chalice, the stamp contained a map of the Philippines, the location of the City of Manila, and an inscription that reads Seat XXXIII International Eucharistic Congress, Feb. 3-7, 1937. The Supreme Court denied the petition for a writ of prohibition, without pronouncement as to costs.

AGLIPAY VS. RUIZ [64 PHIL 201; G.R. NO. 45459; 13 MAR 1937] Facts: Petitioner seeks the issuance of a writ of prohibition against respondent Director of Posts from issuing and selling postage stamps commemorative of the 33rd International Eucharistic Congress. Petitioner contends that such act is a violation of the Constitutional provision stating that no public funds shall be appropriated or used in the benefit of any church, system of religion, etc. This provision is a result of the principle of the separation of church and state, for the purpose of avoiding the occasion wherein the state will use the church, or vice versa, as a weapon to further their ends and aims. Respondent contends that such issuance is in accordance to Act No. 4052, providing for the appropriation funds to respondent for the production and issuance of postage stamps as would be advantageous to the government. Issue: Whether or Not there was a violation of the freedom to religion. Held: What is guaranteed by our Constitution is religious freedom and not mere religious toleration. It is however not an inhibition of profound reverence for religion and is not a denial of its influence in human affairs. Religion as a profession of faith to an active power that binds and elevates man to his Creator is recognized. And

in so far as it instills into the minds the purest principles of morality, its influence is deeply felt and highly appreciated. The phrase in Act No. 4052 advantageous to the government does not authorize violation of the Constitution. The issuance of the stamps was not inspired by any feeling to favor a particular church or religious denomination. They were not sold for the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church. The postage stamps, instead of showing a Catholic chalice as originally planned, contains a map of the Philippines and the location of Manila, with the words Seat XXXIII International Eucharistic Congress. The focus of the stamps was not the Eucharistic Congress but the city of Manila, being the seat of that congress. This was to to advertise the Philippines and attract more tourists, the officials merely took advantage of an event considered of international importance. Although such issuance and sale may be inseparably linked with the Roman Catholic Church, any benefit and propaganda incidentally resulting from it was no the aim or purpose of the Government.

OPOSA vs. FACTORAN FACTS: The petitioners, all minors, sought the help of the Supreme Court to order the respondent, then Secretary of DENR, to cancel all existing Timber License Agreement (TLA) in the country and to cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving new TLAs. They alleged that the massive commercial logging in the country is causing vast abuses on rainforest. They furthered the rights of their generation and the rights of the generations yet unborn to a balanced and healthful ecology. Issue: Whether or not the petitioners have a locus standi. Held: Locus standi means the right of the litigant to act or to be heard. The SC decided in the affirmative. Under Section 16, Article II of the 1987 constitution, it states 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. Petitioners, minors assert that they represent their generation as well as generation 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. Such 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. Needless 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 minor s 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. This landmark case has been ruled as a class suit because the subject matter of the complaint is of common and general interest, not just for several but for ALL CITIZENS OF THE PHILIPPINES. Bottom line: These minors have fought for our rights up to the highest level of legal remedy. These minors thought of our interest and right. These minors battled for our sons and daughters and those yet to come. These minors were concern for us to live in a balanced and healthful ecology. Sadly, we, who are learned and with discernment, are oblivious. Until when do we learn our lesson? Remember, we have an "INTERGENERATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY" to our future generations.

Oposa vs. Factoran, Jr. 224 SCRA 782 July 1993 FACTS: Plaintiffs, who are minors represented by their parents, alleged that the then DENR Secretary Fulgencio Factoran, Jr. s continued approval of the Timber License Agreements (TLAs) to numerous commercial logging companies to cut and deforest the remaining forests of the country will work great damage and injury to the plaintiffs and their successors. Defendant, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), avers that the plaintiffs failed to state a specific right violated by the defendant and that the question of whether logging should be permitted in the country is a political question and cannot be tried in the Courts. The RTC of Makati, Branch 66, granted defendant s motion to dismiss. ISSUE: Whether or not the case at bar subject to the judicial power of the Court COURT RULING: Being impressed with merit, the Supreme Court granted the petition and set aside the Order of the RTC which dismissed the case. The case at bar is subject to judicial review by the Court. Justice Davide, Jr. precisely identified in his opinion the requisites for a case to be subjected for the judicial review by the Court. According to him, the subject matter of the complaint is of common interest, making this civil case a class suit and proving the existence of an actual controversy. He strengthens this conclusion by citing in the decision Section 1, Article 7 of the 1987 Constitution. Although concurring in the result, Justice Feliciano penned his separate opinions on a number of topics pointed by Justice Davide, Jr. in this Court decision. Justice

Feliciano said that the concept of the word class is too broad to cover the plaintiffs and their representatives alone, and that the Court may be deemed recognizing anyone s right to file action as against both the public administrative agency and the private entities of the sector involved in the case at bar, to wit: Neither petitioners nor the Court has identified the particular provisions of the Philippine Environment Code which give rise to a specific legal right which petitioners are seeking to enforce. Justice Feliciano further stated that the Court in the case at bar in effect made Sections 15 and 16 of Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution to be self-executing and judicially enforceable even in its present form, and that these implications are too large and far reaching in nature ever to be hinted in this instant case.

Juan Antonio Oposa et al., v. 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. July 30, 1993] SYLLABUS 1. INSTITUTIONAL LAW; DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES AND STATE POLICIES; RIGHT TO A BALANCED AND HEALTHFUL ECOLOGY, CONSTRUED. 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." This right unites with the right to health which is provided for in the preceding section of the same article: "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. The right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries with it the correlative duty to refrain from impairing the environment. 2. ID.; ID.; TIMBER LICENSES; NATURE THEREOF; NON IMPAIRMENT CLAUSE MAY NOT BE INVOKED; CASE AT BAR. all licenses may thus be revoked or rescinded by executive action. It is not a contract, property or a property right protected by the due process clause of the Constitution. In Tan vs. Director of Forestry, (125 SCRA 302, 325 [1983]) This 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. `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: (190 SCRA 673 684 [1990]) ". . . 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." 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 a 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., (110 Phil. 198, 203 [1960]) this 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, (291 U.S. 502, 523, 78 L. ed. 940 947 949) quoted in Philippine American Life Insurance Co. vs. Auditor General, (22 SCRA 135, 146 147 [1968]) 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 court, the non impairment clause must yield to the police power of the state. (Ongsiako vs. Gamboa, 86 Phil. 50 [1950]; Abe vs. Foster Wheeler Corp., supra; Phil. American Life Insurance Co. vs. Auditor General, supra; Alalyan vs. NLRC, 24scra 172 [1968]; Victoriano vs. Elizalde Rope Workers Union, 59 SCRA 54 [1974]; Kabiling vs. National Housing Authority, 156 SCRA 623 [1987]). 3. ID.; JUDICIAL REVIEW; NO LONGER IMPAIRED BY THE POLITICAL QUESTION DOCTRINE; RATIONALE. 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, Mr. 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 by 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. 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, (180 SCRA 496, 501 502 [1989]. See also Coseteng vs. Mitra, 187 SCRA 377 [1990]; Gonzales vs. Macaraig, 191 SCRA 844 [1991]; Bengzon vs. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, 203 SCRA 767 [1991]) Mr. 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 resolving 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: . . ." 4. REMEDIAL LAW; PLEADINGS; CAUSE OF ACTION, DEFINED; CASE AT BAR. the right of the petitioners (and all those they represent) to a balanced and healthful ecology is as clear as the DENR`s duty under its mandate and by virtue of its powers and functions under E.O. No. 192 and the Administrative Code of 1987 to protect and advance the said right. A denial or violation of that right by the other who has the correlative 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. 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." (Marao 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]; Case#as vs. Rosales, 19 SCRA 462 [1967]; Virata vs. Sandiganbayan, 202 SCRA 680 [1991]; Madrona vs. Rosal, 204 SCRA 1 [1991]. 5. ID.; ID.; MOTION TO DISMISS; LACK OF CAUSE OF ACTION, AS A GROUND; RULE; CASE AT BAR. 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, the 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 or 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? In Militante vs. Edrosolano, this 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." After a careful examination of the petitioners` complaint, We find the statements under the introductory affirmative allegations, as well as the specific averments under the subheading 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. FELICIANO, J., concurring: 1. REMEDIAL LAW; ACTIONS; LOCUS STANDI, CONSTRUED; CASE AT BAR. 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 a 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. 2. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES AND STATE POLICIES; RIGHT TO "A BALANCE AND HEALTHFUL ECOLOGY"; INTERPRETATION. 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 rubric 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, Sections 16 ("the right to a balanced and healthful ecology") and 15 ("the right to health"). 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. 3. ID.; RIGHT TO HEALTH; SHOULD SPECIFICALLY EXIST IN OUR CORPUS OF LAW. Justice Feliciano 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. 4. REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; CAUSE OF ACTION; LEGAL RIGHTS, AS ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS; STANDARDS. 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. 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 . . . 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." 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 qualifications. 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. DECISION 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." The controversy has its genesis in Civil Case No. 90 777 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. 1 The complaint 2 was instituted as a taxpayers` class suit 3 and alleges that the plaintiffs "are all citizens of the Republic of the Philippines, taxpayers, and entitled to the full benefit, use and enjoyment of the natural resource treasure that is the country`s virgin tropical rainforests." 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." 4 Consequently, it is prayed for that judgment be rendered: ". . . ordering defendant, his agents, representatives and other persons acting in his behalf to (1) Cancel all existing timber license agreements in the country; (2) Cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving new timber license agreements." and granting the plaintiffs ". . . such other reliefs just and equitable under the premises." 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 the 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 flooding 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." Plaintiffs further assert that the adverse and detrimental consequences of continued 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. As their cause of action, they specifically allege that: "CAUSE OF ACTION 7. Plaintiffs replead by reference the foregoing allegations. 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. 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.

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. 11. Public records reveal that 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. A copy of the TLA holders and the corresponding areas covered is hereto attached as Annex `A`. 12. At the present rate of deforestation, i.e. about 200,000 hectares per annum or 25 hectares per hour Philippines will be bereft of forest resources after the end of this ensuing decade, if not earlier. nighttime, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays included the

13. The adverse effects, disastrous consequences, serious injury and irreparable damage of this continued trend of deforestation to the plaintiff minors` 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. 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. 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. 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. 16. Plaintiffs 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. A copy of the plaintiffs` letter dated March 1, 1990 is hereto attached as Annex `B`. 17. Defendant, however, fails and refuses to cancel the existing TLA`s, to the continuing serious damage and extreme prejudice of plaintiffs. 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 has been abundantly blessed with. 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 `(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 ensure the attainment of an environmental quality that is conducive to a life of dignity and well being`. (P.D. 1151, 6 June 1977). 20. Furthermore, defendant`s continued refusal to cancel the aforementioned TLA`s is contradictory to the Constitutional policy of the State to 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); b. `protect the nation`s marine wealth.` (Section 2, ibid); c. `conserve and promote the nation`s cultural heritage and resources (sic).` (Section 14, Article XIV, id.); 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.) 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.

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 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. On 18 July 1991, respondent Judge issued an order granting the aforementioned motion to dismiss. 7 In 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 reliefs prayed for would result in the impairment of contracts which is prohibited by the fundamental law of the land.

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. 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. 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, the safeguard the people`s right to a healthful environment. 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. 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 public interest so requires. 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` recourse is not to file an action in court, but to lobby before Congress for the passage of a bill that would ban logging totally. 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. 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. 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. 9 Such 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. 10 Needless 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. The locus standi of the petitioners having thus been addressed, We shall now proceed to the merits of the petition. 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 read as follows: "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. 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. 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 We do not agree with the trial court`s conclusion 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.

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." This right unites with the right to health which is provided for in the preceding section of the same article: "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. 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: Does this section mandate the State to provide sanctions against all forms of pollution MR. AZCUNA: 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 irreversibly 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, 13 then President Corazon C. Aquino promulgated on 10 June 1987 E.O. No. 192, 14 Section 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 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 in 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. (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. air, water and noise pollution?

(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. 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." 16 As its goal, it speaks of the "responsibilities of each generation as trustee and guardian of the environment for succeeding generations." 17 The latter statute, on the other hand, gave flesh to the said policy. 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 its powers and functions under E.O. No. 192 and the Administrative Code of 1987 to protect and advance the said right. under its mandate and by virtue of

A denial or violation of that right by the other who has the correlative 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. 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 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, 19 the 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 or 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? 20 In Militante vs. Edrosolano, 21 this 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." After a careful examination of the petitioners` complaint, We find the statements under the introductory affirmative allegations, as well as the specific averments under the subheading 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. The foregoing considered, Civil Case No. 90 777 cannot 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, 22 Mr. 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 by 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. 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, 23 Mr. 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 resolving 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

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 protected by the due process clause of the Constitution. In Tan vs. Director of Forestry, 25 this 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. `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 a 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., 28 this 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, 29 quoted 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 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. 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. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED. Cruz, Padilla, Bidin, Gri#o Aquino, Regalado, Romero, Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo and Quiason, JJ., concur.

Narvasa (C.J.), no part; related to one of the parties. Feliciano, J., please see separate opinion concurring in the result. Puno, J., no part in the deliberations. Vitug, J., no part; I was not yet with the Court when the case was deliberated upon. Separate Opinions FELICIANO, J., concurring: 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. 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 a 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. 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 rubric 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, Sections 16 (Athe right C to a balanced and healthful ecology@) and 15 (Athe right to health@). P.D. No. 1152, also dated 6 June 1977, entitled AThe Philippine Environment Code,@ is, upon the other hand, a compendious collection of more Aspecific environment management policies@ and Aenvironment quality standards@ (fourth AWhereas@ clause, Preamble) relating to an extremely wide range of topics: (a) air quality management; (b) water quality management; (c) land use management; (d) natural resources management and conservation embracing; (i) fisheries and aquatic resources; (ii) wild life; (iii) forestry and soil conservation; (iv) flood control and natural calamities; (v) energy development; (vi) conservation and utilization of surface and ground water (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. 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. My suggestion is simply that petitioners must, before the trial court, show a more specific legal right C a right cast in language of a significantly lower order of generality than Article II (15) of the Constitution C 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. 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. The second is a broader-gauge consideration C 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. x x x 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. (Emphases supplied) When substantive standards as general as Athe right to a balanced and healthy ecology@ and Athe right to health@ are combined with remedial standards as broad ranging as Aa 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 C the legislative and executive departments C 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. 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 of (sic) the country. The doctrines set out in the Court=s decision issued today should, however, be subjected to closer examination. Petition granted. Challenged order set aside. Introduction The Petitioners were a group of Filipino minors who brought this action on their own behalf and on behalf of generations yet unborn, through their respective parents together with the Philippine Ecological Network Incorporated. They claimed that the country's natural forest cover was being destroyed at such a rate that the country would be bereft of forest resources by the end of the decade if not sooner. They brought their action as a taxpayers' class suit claiming that as citizens and taxpayers they were entitled to the full benefit, use and enjoyment of "the natural resource treasure that is the country's virgin rain forests." They also asserted that they represented their generation as well as "generations yet unborn". They prayed for an order directing the Secretary to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to cancel all existing timber license agreements and cease from accepting or approving new agreements. The Petitioners' suit in the Regional Trial Court had been dismissed on a motion of the Respondent, pleading that they had no cause of action against him and that the issue raised by them was a political question which properly pertained to the legislative or executive branches of Government. The Trial Judge had further ruled that the granting of the relief prayed for would result in the impairment of contracts, which was prohibited by the fundamental law of the land. The Petitioners sought a writ of certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court to quash the Regional Trial Court Judge's order of dismissal. The Supreme Court recognised at the outset that this case raised the right of the people of Philippines to a balanced ecology and the concept of inter-generational responsibility and intergenerational justice. The Petitioners led extensive scientific evidence to support their case that the widespread granting of timber license agreements by the first respondent and his predecessors had resulted in a vast depletion of the country's natural forest cover, and that at the present rate of deforestation the Philippines would be bereft of forest resources at the end of the decade, if not earlier. The Petitioners led evidence of the adverse environmental effects already experienced by the present generation of Filipinos and the even more serious effects that would be experienced by the Petitioners and their successors if licenses were given to continue the deforestation. The Petitioners pleaded that the acts of the Respondent constituted a misappropriation and/or impairment of the natural resource property that he holds in trust for the benefit of the plaintiff minors and succeeding generations. The Petitioners further pleaded that they had a constitutional right to a "balanced and healthful ecology" and were entitled to the protection of the State in its capacity as "parens patriae". Held (1) Since the subject matter of the complaint was of common and general interest to all citizens and it was impracticable to bring them all before Court, the Petitioners' suit was a valid class action under Section 12, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court. 2) The Petitioners had the right to sue on behalf of succeeding generations because every generation has a responsibility to the next to preserve the rhythm and harmony of nature for the full enjoyment of a balanced and healthful ecology.

(3) The Petitioners' complaint focused on one specific fundamental right, namely the right to a balanced and healthful ecology, which was incorporated in Article 16 of the 1987 Constitution. The fact that it was included under the Declaration of Principles and State Policies and not under the Bill of Rights did not make it any less important. This right implied, among other things, the judicious management and conservation of the country's forests. In this regard the Supreme Court remarked, "As 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." (4) The Petitioners' right to a balanced and healthful ecology and the DENR's duty to protect and advance that right were both clear, and gave rise to a cause of action as defined by the law. (5) The case brought by the Petitioners could not be said to raise a political question because policy formulation by the executive or legislature was not in issue. What was principally involved was the enforcement of right vis-a-vis policies already formulated. In any event the political question doctrine was no longer an insurmountable obstacle to the exercise of judicial power owing to the provisions of Article VIII of the Constitution which gave the courts power to review the exercise of discretion by government departments. (6) The Petitioners' application to set aside the Trial Judge's order of dismissal was accordingly allowed. The case was sent back to the Regional Trial Court with a direction to the Petitioners to implead the holders of the questioned timber licenses as defendants. Note: Associate Justice Florentino P. Feliciano concurred in the result but wrote a separate judgement.

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