You are on page 1of 4

Oposa vs. Factoran Case Digest (G.R. No.

101083, July 30,


1993)
FACTS:
The plaintiffs in this case are all minors duly represented and joined by their parents. The first complaint
was filed as a taxpayer's class suit at the Branch 66 (Makati, Metro Manila), of the Regional Trial Court,
National capital Judicial Region against defendant (respondent) Secretary of the Department of
Environment and Natural Reasources (DENR). Plaintiffs alleged that they are entitled to the full benefit,
use and enjoyment of the natural resource treasure that is the country's virgin tropical forests. They
further asseverate that they represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn and asserted
that continued deforestation have caused a distortion and disturbance of the ecological balance and have
resulted in a host of environmental tragedies.
Plaintiffs prayed that judgement be rendered ordering the respondent, his agents, representatives and
other persons acting in his behalf 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.
Defendant, on the other hand, filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that the complaint had no cause of
action against him and that it raises a political question.
The RTC Judge sustained the motion to dismiss, further ruling that granting of the relief prayed for would
result in the impairment of contracts which is prohibited by the Constitution.
Plaintiffs (petitioners) thus filed the instant special civil action for certiorari and asked the court to rescind
and set aside the dismissal order on the ground that the respondent RTC Judge gravely abused his
discretion in dismissing the action.
ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the plaintiffs have a cause of action.
(2) Whether or not the complaint raises a political issue.
(3) Whether or not the original prayer of the plaintiffs result in the impairment of contracts.
RULING:
First Issue: Cause of Action.
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. The Court did not agree with this. The
complaint focuses on one fundamental legal right -- the right to a balanced and healthful ecology which is
incorporated in Section 16 Article II of the Constitution. The said right carries with it the duty to refrain
from impairing the environment and implies, among many other things, the judicious management and
conservation of the country's forests. Section 4 of E.O. 192 expressly mandates the DENR to be the
primary government agency responsible for the governing and supervising the exploration, utilization,
development and conservation of the country's natural resources. The policy declaration of E.O. 192 is
also substantially re-stated in Title XIV Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987. Both E.O. 192 and

Administrative Code of 1987 have set the objectives which will serve as the bases for policy formation,
and have defined the powers and functions of the DENR. Thus, right of the petitioners (and all those they
represent) to a balanced and healthful ecology is as clear as DENR's duty 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 or respect the same gives rise to a cause of action. Petitioners maintain that the granting of the
TLA, which they claim was done with grave abuse of discretion, violated their right to a balance and
healthful ecology. Hence, the full protection thereof requires that no further TLAs should be renewed or
granted.
After careful examination of the petitioners' complaint, the Court finds it to be adequate enough to show,
prima facie, the claimed violation of their rights.

Second Issue: Political Issue.


Second paragraph, Section 1 of Article VIII of the constitution provides for the expanded jurisdiction
vested upon the Supreme Court. It allows the Court to rule upon even on the wisdom of the decision of
the Executive and Legislature and to declare their acts as invalid for lack or excess of jurisdiction because
it is tainted with grave abuse of discretion.

Third Issue: Violation of the non-impairment clause.


The Court held that the Timber License Agreement is an instrument by which the state regulates the
utilization and disposition of forest resources to the end that public welfare is promoted. It is not a contract
within the purview of the due process clause thus, the non-impairment clause cannot be invoked. It can
be validly withdraw whenever dictated by public interest or public welfare as in this case. The granting of
license does not create irrevocable rights, neither is it property or property rights.
Moreover, the constitutional guaranty of non-impairment of obligations of contract is limit by the exercise
by the police power of the State, in the interest of public health, safety, moral and general welfare. In
short, the non-impairment clause must yield to the police power of the State.
The instant petition, being impressed with merit, is hereby GRANTED and the RTC decision is SET
ASIDE.

Miners Association of the Philippines v. Factoran, Case Digest


G.R. No. 98332 January 16, 1995

Facts :

Former President Corazon Aquino issued Executive Order Nos 211 and 279 in the exercise of her
legislative powers. EO No. 211 prescribes the interim procedures in the processing and approval of
applications for the exploration, development and utilization of minerals pursuant to Section 2, Article
XII of the 1987 Constitution. EO No. 279 authorizes the DENR Secretary to negotiate and conclude jointventure, co-production, or production- sharing agreements for the exploration, development, and
utilization of mineral resources.

The issuance and the impeding implementation by the DENR of Administrative Order Nos. 57 which
declares that all existing mining leases or agreements which were granted after the effectivity of the 1987
Constitutionshall be converted into production-sharing agreements within one (1) year from the
effectivity of these guidelines. and Administrative Order No. 82 which provides that a failure to submit
Letter of Intent and Mineral Production-Sharing Agreement within 2 years from the effectivity of the
Department Administrative Order No. 57 shall cause the abandonment of the mining, quarry, and sand
and gravel claims, after their respective effectivity dates compelled the Miners Association of the
Philippines, Inc., an organization composed of mining prospectors and claim owners and claim holders, to
file the instant petition assailing their validity and constitutionality before this Court.

Issue :
Are the two Department Administrative Orders valid?

Ruling :

Yes. Petitioner's insistence on the application of Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended, as the
governing law on the acceptance and approval of declarations of location and all other kinds of
applications for the exploration, development, and utilization of mineral resources pursuant to Executive
Order No. 211, is erroneous. Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended, pertains to the old system of
exploration, development and utilization of natural resources through "license, concession or lease"
which, however, has been disallowed by Article XII, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution. By virtue of the

said constitutional mandate and its implementing law, Executive Order No. 279 which superseded
Executive Order No. 211, the provisions dealing on "license, concession or lease" of mineral resources
under Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended, and other existing mining laws are deemed repealed and,
therefore, ceased to operate as the governing law. In other words, in all other areas of administration and
management of mineral lands, the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended, and other
existing mining laws, still govern. Section 7 of Executive Order No. 279 provides, thus:
Sec. 7. All provisions of Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended, other existing mining laws, and their
implementing rules and regulations, or parts thereof, which are not inconsistent with the provisions of
this Executive Order, shall continue in force and effect.

Well -settled is the rule, however, that regardless of the reservation clause, mining leases or agreements
granted by the State, such as those granted pursuant to Executive Order No. 211 referred to this petition,
are subject to alterations through a reasonable exercise of the police power of the State.
Accordingly, the State, in the exercise of its police power in this regard, may not be precluded by the
constitutional restriction on non-impairment of contract from altering, modifying and amending the
mining leases or agreements granted under Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended, pursuant to
Executive Order No. 211. Police Power, being co-extensive with the necessities of the case and the
demands of public interest; extends to all the vital public needs. The passage of Executive Order No. 279
which superseded Executive Order No. 211 provided legal basis for the DENR Secretary to carry into effect
the mandate of Article XII, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.