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G.R. No. 1010183, July 30, 1993

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).

The complaint was instituted as a taxpayers' class suit 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 forests." This instant petition was filed to seek for
the cancelation of all existing timber license agreements (TLAs) in the country and
to cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving
new timber license agreements.

Minor petitioners contend that continued granting of timber license constitutes a

misappropriation or impairment of the natural resource property and violates their
constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology (Art. II, Sec. 16, 1987
Constitution) and the protection by the State in its capacity as parens patriae.
Petitioners likewise rely on the respondent's correlative obligation per Section 4 of
E.O. No. 192, to safeguard the people's right to a healthful environment.


1. Whether or not the petitioners have locus standi.

2. Whether or not 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.

1. The Court finds no difficulty in ruling that they can file a class suit because they
represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn. 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. 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.

2. The Court does not agree with the trial court's conclusions that the plaintiffs
failed to allege with sufficient definiteness a specific legal right involved or a
specific legal wrong committed, and that the complaint is replete with vague
assumptions and conclusions based on unverified data.

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).

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.

The right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries with it the correlative duty to
refrain from impairing the environment. EO 192 and Admin Code of 1987 define
the powers and functions of DENR, under whose authority and office the
complaint falls. The petitioners right to a balanced and healthful ecology is as
clear as DENRs duty to protect and advance the said right. The petitioners
personality to sue in behalf of their own as well as the future generations behalf
can only be based on the concept of intergenerational esponsibility insofar as the
said right is concerned.

David vs. Macapagal Arroyo (May 6, 2006) Digest

Consists of 7 cases consolidated alleging that in issuing Presidential Proclamation No.
1017 (PP 1017) and General Order No. 5 (G.O. No. 5), President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
committed grave abuse of discretion
On February 24, 2006 issued PP 1017 declaring a state of national emergency saying that
the Communist insurgents are in a systematic conspiracy to bring down the government with
Magdalo Group and Gen. Lim and Marine Commander Ariel Querubin (clear and present
danger); suppress terrorism and lawless violence

Pursuant to the order, warrantless arrests and take-over of facilities may be done

During the dispersal of the rallyists along EDSA, police arrested (without warrant)
petitioner Randolf S. David, a professor at the University of the Philippines and newspaper
columnist. Also arrested was his companion, Ronald Llamas, president of party-list Akbayan
At around 12:20 in the early morning of February 25, 2006, operatives of the Criminal
Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the PNP, on the basis of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5,
raided the Daily Tribune offices in Manila. The raiding team confiscated news stories by
reporters, documents, pictures, and mock-ups of the Saturday issue
During the hearing, the Solicitor General narrated the events that led to the proclamation
of the Decree: from the discovery of bomb in the PMA Reunion Arroyo was suppose to attend
to factual documents seized from a Magdalo member detailing the military takeover of the
government led by the Philippine Marines

The petitioners did not contend the facts stated by the Solicitor General

WON the implementation of PP 1017 is unconstitutional
It encroaches on the emergency powers of Congress/they arrogate unto President Arroyo
the power to enact laws and decrees

It is a deception to avoid the constitutional requirements for the imposition of martial law

It violates the constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press, of speech and of assembly

Ratio Decidendi:
Generally, Congress is the repository of emergency powers. This is evident in the tenor of
Section 23 (2), Article VI authorizing it to delegate such powers to the President. Certainly, a
body cannot delegate a power not reposed upon it. However, knowing that during grave
emergencies, it may not be possible or practicable for Congress to meet and exercise its powers,
the Framers of our Constitution deemed it wise to allow Congress to grant emergency powers
to the President, subject to certain conditions, thus:
o There must be a war or other emergency.
o The delegation must be for a limited period only
o The delegation must be subject to such restrictions as the Congress may prescribe.
o The emergency powers must be exercised to carry out a national policy declared by
The Court rules that the assailed PP 1017 is unconstitutional insofar as it grants President
Arroyo the authority to promulgate decrees. Legislative power is peculiarly within the
province of the Legislature. Sec. 1, Art. VI categorically states that the legislative power shall
be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of
Representatives. To be sure, neither Martial Law nor a state of rebellion nor a state of
emergency can justify President Arroyos exercise of legislative power by issuing decrees
The President also cannot call the military to enact laws such as laws on family, corporate
laws, obligations and contracts, etc. Under the PP 1017, she can only call out the military to
suppress lawless violence
The President is authorized to declare a state of national emergency. However, without
legislation, she has no power to take over privately-owned public utility or business affected
with public interest. The President cannot decide whether exceptional circumstances exist
warranting the take over of privately-owned public utility or business affected with public
interest. Nor can she determine when such exceptional circumstances have ceased. Likewise,
without legislation, the President has no power to point out the types of businesses affected
with public interest that should be taken over. In short, the President has no absolute authority
to exercise all the powers of the State under Section 17, Article VII in the absence of an
emergency powers act passed by Congress
PP 1017 is CONSTITUTIONAL as far as the calling out of the military to suppress
lawless violence. However, the military cannot enforce other laws

PP 1017 is UNCONSTITUTIONAL when it comes to promulgating Decrees. Only the 2

Houses of Congress can legislate laws
Warrantless arrests and seizures conducted without proof that they are part of rebellion,



A "Demolition Notice," dated 9 July 1990, signed by Carlos Quimpo (one of the petitioners) in his capacity as
an Executive Officer of the Quezon City Integrated Hawkers Management Council under the Office of the
City Mayor, was sent to, and received by, the private respondents (being the officers and members of the
North EDSA Vendors Association, Incorporated). In said notice, the respondents were given a grace-period
of 3 days within which to vacate the questioned premises of North EDSA to give way to the construction of
the"People's Park".

On 12 July 1990, private respondents, led by their President Roque Fermo, filed a letter-complaint with the
CHR against the petitioners, asking for a letter to be addressed to then Mayor Brigido Simon, Jr. of
Quezon City to stop the demolition of the private respondents'stalls, sari-sari stores, and carinderia
along North EDSA. CHR issued a preliminary order directing the petitioners to desist from demolishing the
stalls and shanties at North EDSA pending resolution of the vendors/squatters' complaint before the
Commission" and ordering said petitioners to appear before the CHR.

Petitioners started the demolition despite CHRs order to desist. Respondents consequently asked that
petitioners be cited in contempt.

Meanwhile, petitioners filed a motion to dismiss the complaint filed by respondents. They alleged that the
Commission has no jurisdiction over the complaint as it involved respondents privilege to engage in
business, not their civil and political rights.

In an Order, 11 dated 25 September 1990, the CHR cited the petitioners in contempt for carrying out the
demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia despite the "order to desist", and it imposed a fine of
P500.00 on each of them. On 1 March 1991, the CHR issued an Order, denying petitioners' motion to
dismiss. The CHR opined that "it was not the intention of the (Constitutional) Commission to create
only a paper tiger limited only to investigating civil and political rights, but it (should) be (considered)
a quasi-judicial body with the power to provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of
human rights of all persons within the Philippines "

Their Motion for Reconsideration having been denied, petioners Simon Jr. et al filed a petition for prohibition
to enjoin the CHR from hearing private respondents complaint.


WON CHR has jurisdiction to hear the complaint and grant the relief prayed for by respondents.
WON the CHR can investigate the subject matter of respondents complaint.


No. Under the constitution, the CHR has no power to adjudicate.

No. Complaint does not involve civil and political rights.


Art XIII, Section 18 of the Constitution provides that the CHR has the power to investigate, on its own or on
complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights.

In Cario v. Commission on Human Rights, the Court through Justice Andres Narvasa observed that:

(T)he Commission on Human Rights . . . was not meant by the fundamental law to be another court or quasi-judicial
agency in this country, or duplicate much less take over the functions of the latter.

The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power is that it may investigate, i.e.,
receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards claimed human rights violations involving civil and political
rights. But fact finding is not adjudication, and cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even
a quasi-judicial agency or official. The function of receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a
controversy is not a judicial function, properly speaking. To be considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence
and making factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority of applying the law to those
factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided or determined authoritatively, finally and
definitively, subject to such appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law. This function, to repeat, the
Commission does not have

CHRs investigative power encompasses all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights.

The term civil rights has been defined as referring to those rights that belong to every citizen of the state or
country, or, in wider sense, to all its inhabitants, and are not connected with the organization or
administration of the government. They include the rights of property, marriage, equal protection of the laws,
freedom of contract, etc. Political rights, on the other hand, are said to refer to the right to participate, directly
or indirectly, in the establishment or administration of government, the right of suffrage, the right to hold
public office, the right of petition and, in general, the rights appurtenant to citizenship vis-a-vis the
management of government.

Recalling the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, it is readily apparent that the delegates
envisioned a Commission on Human Rights that would focus its attention to the more severe cases of
human rights violations. Delegate Garcia, for instance, mentioned such areas as the "(1) protection of rights
of political detainees, (2) treatment of prisoners and the prevention of tortures, (3) fair and public trials, (4)
cases of disappearances, (5) salvagings and hamletting, and (6) other crimes committed against the

In the particular case at hand, there is no cavil that what are sought to be demolished are the stalls, sari-sari
stores and carinderia, as well as temporary shanties, erected by private respondents on a land which is
planned to be developed into a "People's Park." Looking at the standards hereinabove discoursed vis-a-vis
the circumstances obtaining in this instance, we are not prepared to conclude that the order for the
demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia of the private respondents can fall within the
compartment of "human rights violations involving civil and political rights" intended by the Constitution.