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Paje v. Casino et al.

October 27, 2016
(Remedial law: Appeal; Environmental Law: Writ of Kalikasan)
G.R. No. 207257 February 3, 2015
HON. RAMON JESUS PAJE, in his capacity as DENR Secretary v. Hon. Teodoro Casino, et al.

Facts
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, issued an Environmental Compliance Certificate for a proposed
coal-fired power plant at Subic, Zambales to be implemented by RP Energy.
Hon. Teodoro Casino and a number of legislators filed a Petition for Writ of Kalikasan against RP energy, SBMA, and Hon.
Ramon Paje as the DENR secretary on the ground that actual environmental damage will occur if the power plant project
is implemented and that the respondents failed to comply with certain laws and rules governing or relating to the
issuance of an ECC and amendments thereto.
The Court of Appeals denied the petition for the Writ of Kalikasan and invalidated the ECC. Both the DENR and Casino
filed an appeal, the former imputing error in invalidating the ECC and its amendments, arguing that the determination of
the validity of the ECC as well as its amendments is beyond the scope of a Petition for a Writ of kalikasan; while the
latter claim that it is entitled to a Writ of Kalikasan.
Issues
1. Whether the parties may raise questions of fact on appeal on the issuance of a writ of Kalikasan; and
2. Whether the validity of an ECC can be challenged via a writ of Kalikasan
Ruling
1. Yes, the parties may raise questions of fact on appeal on the issuance of a writ of Kalikasan because the Rules on
the Writ of kalikasan (Rule 7, Section 16 of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases)allow the parties to
raise, on appeal, questions of fact— and, thus, constitutes an exception to Rule 45 of the Rules of Court—
because of the extraordinary nature of the circumstances surrounding the issuance of a writ of kalikasan.
2. Yes, the validity of an ECC can be challenged via a writ of Kalikasan because such writ is principally predicated on
an actual or threatened violation of the constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology, which involves
environmental damage of a magnitude that transcends political and territorial boundaries.
A party, therefore, who invokes the writ based on alleged defects or irregularities in the issuance of an ECC must not
only allege and prove such defects or irregularities, but must also provide a causal link or, at least, a reasonable
connection between the defects or irregularities in the issuance of an ECC and the actual or threatened violation of the
constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology of the magnitude contemplated under the Rules. Otherwise, the
petition should be dismissed outright and the action re-filed before the proper forum with due regard to the doctrine of
exhaustion of administrative remedies.
In the case at bar, no such causal link or reasonable connection was shown or even attempted relative to the aforesaid
second set of allegations. It is a mere listing of the perceived defects or irregularities in the issuance of the ECC.