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175 EDUARDO F. HERNANDEZ, MA. ENCARBACION R.

LEGASPI, JAIME BLANCO, JR., ENRIQUE BELO, CARLOS


VIAPLANA, CARL FURER, VIVENCIO TINIO, MICHAEL
BRIGGS, ROSA CARAM, FAUSTO PREYSLER, ROBERT
KUA, GEORGE LEE, GUILLERMO LUCHANGCO, PETER
DEE, LUISA MARQUEZ, ANGELITA LILLES, JUAN
CARLOS, HOMER GO, AMADEO VALENZUELA, EMILIO
CHING, ANTONIO CHAN, MURLI SABNANI, MARCOS
ROCES, RAYMUNDO FELICIANO, NORMA GAFFUD, ALF
HOLST, LOURDES P. ROQUE, MANUEL DY, RAUL
FERNANDEZ, VICTORIA TENGCO, CHI MO CHENG,
BARANGAY DASMARIAS, and HON. FRANCISCO B.
IBAY, petitioners
vs.
NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, respondent
[G.R. NUMBER; DATE ]
TOPIC: Laws prohibiting injunction; Exceptions
PONENTE: CHICO-NAZARIO, J.

AUTHOR:
NOTES: (if applicable)

FACTS: (chronological order)

1.

Sometime in 1996, NAPOCOR began the construction of 29 decagon-shaped steel poles or towers with a height of 53.4 meters
support overhead high tension cables in connection with its 230 Kilovolt Sucat-Araneta-Balintawak Power Transmission Proje
Said transmission line passes through the Sergio Osmea, Sr. Highway (South Superhighway), the perimeter of Fort Bonifac
and Dasmarias Village proximate to Tamarind Road, where petitioners homes are.

2.

Alarmed by the sight of the towering steel towers, petitioners scoured the internet on the possible adverse effects that such a
structure could cause to their health and well-being. Petitioners got hold of published articles and studies linking the incidence o
fecund of illnesses to exposure to electromagnetic fields. These illnesses range from cancer to leukemia.

3.

They aired this growing concern to the NAPOCOR, which conducted a series of meetings with them. The two parties tried to co
to a compromise, but negotiations stalled.

4.

The petitioners filed a Complaint for Damages, seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against NPC. T
Petitioners alleged that exposure to electromagnetic radiation from the transmission lines posed a risk of health hazards to lo
residents, and sought damages and the relocation of the transmission lines.

5.

The Trial Court issued a temporary restraining order preventing NPC from energizing and transmitting high voltage curre
through the lines. NPC challenged this order on the basis that the Presidential Decree No. 1818 prevented courts from issui
temporary restraining orders or injunctions. In the interim, the Trial Court issued a writ of a preliminary injunction against NP
saying it was necessary because the power lines posed possible health risks to the Petitioners. It also ruled that Presidential Decr
No. 1818 did not apply to the case because of these health risks.

6.

In 2000, the Court of Appeals reversed the Trial Courts order, finding that Presidential Decree No. 1818 did apply to the case.

7.

The Petitioners filed a further appeal to the Supreme Court, claiming that Presidential Decree No. 1818 should not be constru
to apply to cases of extreme urgency as in the present case when no less than the rights of the petitioners to health and saf
hangs on the balance. The Petitioners also sought a preliminary injunction on the ground that the NCP Project impinged on th
right to health as enshrined in Article II, Section 15 of the Constitution.

ISSUE(S): Whether the trial court may temporarily restrain or preliminarily enjoin NAPOCOR from constructing and operating
steel poles or towers despite the mandate of PD 1818.
HELD: YES.
RATIO:

The Court found that Presidential Decree no. 1818 did not apply to the case at bar, and reinstated the preliminary injunction.

The prohibition contained in Presidential Decree 1818 extended only to the issuance of injunctions or restraining orders agai
administrative acts, in controversies involving facts or the exercise of discretion in technical cases. It did not cover controvers
involving questions of law, as those involved in the instant case.

What Presidential Decree 1818 aimed to avert was the untimely frustration of government infrastructure projects, particularly
provisional remedies. Otherwise, the greater good would suffer from the disruption of the pursuit of essential government projects
the frustration of the economic development effort of the nation. PD No. 1818, however, was not meant to be a blanket prohibition t
would disregard the fundamental right to the health, safety and well-being of a community, guaranteed by the Constitution.

Indeed, the prohibition was not absolute. It only prohibited the courts from issuing injunctions against administrative acts involvi
facts or the exercise of discretion in technical cases. Outside this dimension, the Supreme Court declared that courts could not
prevented from exercising their power to restrain or prohibit administrative acts in cases involving questions of law.

Because the Petitioners were arguing that the power transmission project impinged on their constitutional right to health, and furth
that the government had failed to consult them as an affected community prior to the project, questions of law were at issue in this ca
As such, Presidential Decree No. 1818 was inapplicable here.

Having decided this, the Court considered there was good reason to award a writ of preliminary injunction, because there was amp
evidence that the power transmission project would endanger the health and lives of the Petitioners. The Court cited studies linking
presence of power lines to diseases such as cancer, as well as Congressional debates and the NPCs own guidelines on power li
safety. The Court also considered that the area the project was located in was subject to earthquake faults and extreme weather, and t
the NPC had taken shortcuts with its consultation requirements, as well as with its feasibility studies.

The Court acknowledged that the question of whether the power lines were safe was one to be decided in the merits proceedin
However, taken together the above factors suggested that there was enough probability of imperilling the Petitioners health and l
that it would be prudent to preserve the status quo. As such, the Court considered that the trial court had been justified in issuing

injunction.
CASE LAW/ DOCTRINE:
DISSENTING/CONCURRING OPINION(S):