You are on page 1of 13

La Bugal-B’Laan Tribal Association, Inc. vs.

Ramos The Philippine Mining Act of 1995 was likewise hurled to controversy as its constitutionality in the light of nationalization of exploration, development and utilization of our mineral resources was challenged. A petition for mandamus and prohibition assailed the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 7942, otherwise known as Philippine Mining Act of 1995, along with its implementing rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Order No 9640, and of the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) entered into on March 30, 1995 by the Republic of the Philippines and Western Mining Corporation Philippines Incorporated, a corporation under

Philippine laws. On July 25, 1987, then President Corazon Aquino issued Executive Order No. 279 authorizing the DENR secretary to deal with foreign investors for contracts of agreements involving either technical or financial assistance for large-scale exploration, development and utilization of minerals. On March 3, 1995, then President Fidel Ramos approved Republic Act No. 7942 to govern the exploration, development, utilization and processing of all mineral resources. The Act defines the procedure, modes and terms in mineral agreements and the provision governing financial and technical assistance agreements. It also prescribes the qualification of contractors, their rights to timber, water and easement, to possess explosives and to enter private lands and concession areas. The share of the government in the agreement is also provided thereto.

Shortly before the effectivity of the assailed Act, the President entered into a FTAA with WMCP, a foreign-owned corporation which was later sold to a Filipino owned corporation. On January 10, 1997, La bugal-B’laan Tribal Association along with other petitioners sent letter to DENR secretary to stop the implementation of the assailed Act and DAO 96-40. The DENR did not response thereto which prompted the filing of this petition before the Supreme Court. The petitioners alleged that there were enormous numbers of FTAA applications covering 8.4 million hectares, 64 of the applications are fully foreign-owned corporations covering a total of 5.8 million hectares and there were at least one off-shore owned company. The issue raised a lot of concern especially on the economic prerogative vested on the executive and legislative government and the extent by which the judiciary may intrude. However, the Supreme Court limited its intrusion to the validity of the assailed Act and its implementing rules and regulations and the FTAA in which the government entered into with the WMCP. Another issue raised was the proper interpretation of the phrase “agreements involving either technical or financial assistance’ contained in paragraph 4 of Article 12 Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution. 15-day Reglementary Period It is also noteworthy that the then president Corazon Aquino issued the EO 279 two days before the opening of Congress and it was effected immediately notwithstanding the 15 days reglementary period after publication.

The Court held it validity. Although it counters EO 200 on the 15 days reglementary period, the law provides for its own effectivity date. This is the very essence of the phrase “unless it is otherwise provided” in Sec 1 of EO 200. Therefore, the “15 day following the completion of the publication either in the official gazette or in a newspaper of general publication” applies only when a statute does not provide for its own date of effectivity. Consequently, the signing into law two days before the opening of Congress is within the legislative powers of the President under provisional constitution. Constitutionality of WMCP FTAA The Court is not persuaded. The agreement is a service contract which is precisely the evil that the drafters of the 1987 Constitution sought to eradicate. The phrase “agreements involving technical and financial assistance” is a neither a term for service contracts nor a euphemism for agreement. The CONCOM would have retained the word (service contract) under the 1987 Constitution than simply adopted the old terminology instead of employing a new and unfamiliar terms (agreement involving technical and financial assistance. An examination of the reason behind the change confirms that technical and/or financial assistance agreements are not synonymous to service contracts. During the deliberation, two commissioners along with others reiterated the safeguarding of mineral resources against foreign interests and the total eradication of service contracts which was the persuasive intention of the framers to leave no doubt to eliminate service contracts altogether.

Constitutionality of RA 7942 The Court finds the Act is invalid insofar as it authorizes service contracts. Although the statute employs the phrase “financial and technical agreements” in accordance with the 1987 Constitution, it actually treats these agreements as service contracts which grants beneficial ownership to foreign contractors contrary to the fundamental law. In Section 33 of Chapter VI (Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement), a legally organized foreign-owned corporation may be granted exploration permit and may apply for financial and technical assistance agreement. It may likewise be granted a mineral processing permit and conduct mining operation. The underlying assumption in all these provisions is that foreign contractor manages the mineral resources just like the foreign contractors in a service contracts. Further, Chapter XII of the Act grants foreign contractors in FTAA the same auxillary mining rights that it grants contractors in mineral agreements. Parenthetically, the Act did not define nor distinguish FTAA contractors from mineral contractors. A foreign contractor me even convert its FTAA into a mineral agreement. Finally, under the Act, FTAA contractor is bound to provide some managerial assistance which is proscribed by the present Charter. In effect, the Act conveys beneficial ownership over mineral resources to these contractors. Moreover, it circumvents the mandatory of at least 60% Filipino ownership capitalization requirement of the Constitution for corporations or associations engaged in the exploration, development and utilization of mineral resources.

In sum, the Court finds sections 3, 23, 33, 35, 39 and 56 of the Act to be violative of Section 2 of Article XII of the Constitution and sections 34, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 81 and 90 for being dependent on the foregoing provisions and cannot stand alone. As a service contracts, FTAA grants WMCP the exclusive right to explore, exploit, utilize, process and dispose of all mineral products and by-products that may be produced from the contract area. All materials, equipment, plant and other installation erected or placed on the contract area remain the property of the WMCP. The corporation shall provide all management and personnel necessary for mining operations and it may make expansions, improvements and replacements of the mining facilities. With all these contractual stipulations, taken together, grant the corporation beneficial ownership over natural resources. Therefore, the court declares that the Act is unconstitutional insofar as it provides for service contracts, all provisions of DENR DAO 96-40 of 1996 which are not in conformity with the decision are unconstitutional and the FTAA between the Government of the Philippines and WMCP is void and unconstitutional.

Laguna Lake Development Authority vs. Court of Appeals The clash between the responsibility of the City Government of Caloocan to dispose the 350 tons of garbage collected daily and the growing concern and sensitivity of the pollution-free environment of the residents of Barangay Camarin, Tala Estate, Caloocan City where the tons of garbage are dumped every day is the hub of this controversy elevated by the protagonists to Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) for adjudication. Laguna Lake Development Authority filed this petition assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on Jan 29, 1993 and ruled that LLDA has no power and authority to issue a cease and desist order enjoining the

dumping of garbage in Barangay Camarin, Tala Estate, Caloocan City. Laguna Lake Development Authority now seeks, in this petition, a review of the decision of the Court of Appeals. On March 8, 1991, the Task Force Camarin Dumpsite filed a letter-complaint with the LLDA seeking to stop the dumping operation to the 8.6 hectare open garbage dumpsite because of its harmful effects on the health of the residents and the possibility of pollution of the water content of the surrounding area. On November 15, 1991, the LLDA conducted an on-site investigation, monitoring and test sampling of leachate that seeps from the dumpsite flowing to the nearby creek going to Marilao River. It was also found out that the City Government of Caloocan was operating and maintaining the open dumpsite without first securing an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment Natural Resources (DENR) as

required under PD 1586 and clearance from LLDA as required under RA 4850, as amended by PD 813 and EO 927, series of 1983. After a public hearing, the LLDA found that the water collected from the leachate and the receiving streams considerably polluted and the quality of the water indicates the presence of bacteria and coliform. On Dec 5, 1991, the LLDA issued a Cease and Desist Order ordering the City Government of Caloocan, their contractors and other entities to completely halt, stop and desist from dumping any form or kind of garbage and other waste matter at the Camarin dumpsite. The dumping operation was forthwith halted but eventually resumed and this prompted the LLDA to issue another Order reiterating the Cease and Desist Order. It further sought the assistance of the Philippine National Police by prohibiting the entry of any garbage trucks into the dumping site. The City Government of Caloocan file an action for declaration of nullity of the Cease and Desist Order with the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan praying for the issuance of a writ of injunction. In its complaint, the City Government of Caloocan sought to be declared that it has sole authority empowered to promote health and safety and to balance ecology within its territorial jurisdiction. The executive judge of the RTC Caloocan issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the LLDA from enforcing the cease and desist order. In its response, LLDA contented that under Pollution Control Law the cease and desist order which is the subject matter of the complaint is reviewable both upon the law and the facts of the case by the Court of Appeals and not by the Regional Trial Court. Eventually, the RTC of Caloocan

dismissed the petition of the LLDA and granted the issuance of preliminary injunction enjoining the LLDA, its agents and all persons acting for and on its behalf, from implementing or enforcing its cease and desist order during the pendency of the case and/or until further orders of the court. On November 5, 1992, the LLDA filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court which in turn issued a Resolution referring the case to the Court of Appeals for proper disposition. In the meantime, the Court issued a temporary restraining order against the RTC of Caloocan to exercise jurisdiction over the case and the City Government of Caloocan to cease and desist from dumping its garbage at the Tala Estate, Camarin, Caloocan City. On April 30, 1993, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision holding that the Regional Trial Court has no jurisdiction over the case since appeal therefrom is within the exclusive and appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals and the LLDA has no power and authority to issue cease and desist order under its enabling law, which is RA 4850, as amended by PD 813 and EO 927 series of 1983. The cease and desist order of the LLDA was lifted, subject, however, to the condition that any future dumping in the area shall be in conformity with the procedure and protective works contained in the proposal until relief is granted by the proper Court upon LLDA’s institution of the necessary legal proceedings. The controversy is whether or not the LLDA under its Charter and amendatory laws has the authority to entertain complaint against dumping of garbage detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the residents within the Laguna Lake region.

The Court is affirmative. The LLDA under its Charter and amendatory laws is specifically mandated to carry out and make the declared policy of promoting and accelerating the development and balanced growth of Laguna Lake and the surrounding provinces. The LLDA has the responsibility to protect the inhabitants of the Laguna Lake region for the deleterious effect of the pollutants emanating from the discharge of waste from the surrounding

areas. It is also mandated among others to approve or disapprove all plans, programs and projects proposed by the local government or any other entities in the region where such plans, programs or projects are related to those of the LLDA for the development of the region. Republic Acr No. 4850, as amended by the Presidential Decree No. 83 and Executive Order No. 927 series of 1983, authorizes LLDA to make, alter or modify orsewrs requiring the discontinuance of pollution. The statue explicitly authorizes LLDA to make whatever order may be necessary in the exercise of its jurisdiction. As a regulatory and quasi-judicial body with respect to pollution cases in the Laguna Lake region, the authority of the LLDA to issue Cease and Desist Order is perforce, implied. Our Constitution under article 2 Section16 guaranteed right of every person to a balanced and healthful ecology and being party to the Universal Declaration of human Rights and the Alma Conference Declaration of 1978 which

recognize health as a fundamental human right. The issuance of Cease and Desist Order and the power to institute legal proceeding against any person who shall implement projects, plans or nprograms in the Laguna Lake Region without previous clearance from the

LLDA are, therefore, within its jurisdiction as conferred in its Charter. Therefore, the Court granted the petition and made permanent the TRO issued against the City Government of Caloocan enjoining them form dumping garbage to Camarin Tala Estate.

Oposa vs Factoran A group of minors, represented by their parents, filed a civil case against the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The complaint was a class suit, covering the entire citizens of the country and the future generations who are entitled to full benefit from use and enjoyment of the natural resources particularly the country’s treasure of having virgin tropical rainforest. The complaint alleged that the distortion and disturbances in the ecology as a consequences of deforestration have resulted in a host of environmental tragedies such as water shortages, salinization of water, massive soil erosion, agricultural unproductivity, extinction of engendered species, dislocation and disturbance of cultural communities, siltation of waters, drought, stronger typhoons, flood, dam deterioration and reduction of the earth’s cap[acity to process carbon dioxide. The petitioner anchored their cause of action on facts gathered thru extensive study of the degradation of the country’s environment particularly in the effect of deforestation thru the issuance of Timber License Agreements by DENR to various corporations for commercial logging purposes. The adverse effect is irreversible and irreparable damage of this continued deforestration to the palintiffs’ generation and to the generation of the unborn. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the plaintiffs have no cause of action and the issue raised is a political question which is better to be addressed by lobbying in Congress. The respondent judge issued an order granting the motion to dismiss and to grant relief to the

plaintiff would result violation of the non-impairment of contracts which is prohibited by the fundamental law of the land. The issue in this case surrounds whether or not the plaintiffs have cause of action to institute the petition and the respondent judge stand that timber licenses amount to contracts. The complaint focuses on one specific fundamental legal right which is the right to a balanced and healthful ecology enshrined in the fundamental law for which it is the first time in our nation’s constitutional history. The petitioners cause of action is all about self-preservation and self-perpetuation which predates all principalities and governments and in fact consider to be basic rights of every human being. The right to a balanced and healthful ecology carried with it the correlative duty to refrain from impairing the environment. The DENR under EO 192 Section 4 mandates the agency to be responsible for the conservation, management, development and proper use if the country’s environment and natural resources, specifically forest and grazing lands, mineral resource XXX as well as the licensing and regulation of natural resources as may be provided for by the law”. Thus, the right of the petitioners and all those they represent to a balanced and healthful ecology is as clear as the DENR’s duty – under its mandate and by the virtue of its powers and functions under EO No. 192 and the Administrative Code of 1987 – to protect and advance the said right. The denial or violation of that right by the DENR gives the rise to a cause of action. Petitioners maintain that the continuing granting of the TLAs is done with abuse of discretion, violated their right to a balanced and healthful

ecology; hence full protection thereof requires that no further TLS should be renewed or granted. The Court affirms that TLAs are not contracts. It is not within the ambit of non-impairment clause. Even it may be consider as such, the State in its police power may still revoke when public interest so requires. The President of the Philippines under Section 20 of PD No. 705 (Forestry Reform Code) may amend, modify, replace or rescind contracts, concession, permit, licenses or any privilege granted when the national interest so requires. In Tan vs. Director of Forestry, the Court held that a timber license is a not contract, it is only a license or privilege which can be withdrawn whenever dictated by the public interest or for public welfare. Since timber licenses are not contracts, the non-impairment clause cannot be invoked.