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Mae Angieline T.

Salva
Legal Language

Case 1 - Oposa et al. v. Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr. et al (G.R. No. 101083)

Summary:

FACTS:

The petitioners, all minors, sought the help of the Supreme Court to order the respondent, then
Secretary of DENR, 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.
They alleged that the massive commercial logging in the country is causing vast abuses on
rainforest.

They furthered the rights of their generation and the rights of the generations yet unborn to a
balanced and healthful ecology.

Issue: Whether or not the petitioners have a locus standi.

Held:

Locus standi means the right of the litigant to act or to be heard. The SC decided in the
affirmative.

Under Section 16, Article II of the 1987 constitution, it states that: The state shall protect and
advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm
and harmony of nature.

Petitioners, minors assert that they represent their generation as well as generation yet unborn.
We find no difficulty in ruling that they can, for themselves, for others of their generation and for
the succeeding generations, file a class suit. 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.

Needless to say, 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
minor’s 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.

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This landmark case has been ruled as a class suit because the subject matter of the complaint is
of common and general interest, not just for several but for ALL CITIZENS OF THE
PHILIPPINES.

Reaction: This case is one of my most favorite cases so far and I am proud of our judicial system
because of this one. This has been widely-cited in jurisprudence worldwide, particularly in cases
relating to forest/timber licensing. However, the approach of the Philippine Supreme Court to
economic, social and cultural rights has proved somewhat inconsistent, with some judgments
resulting in the enforcement of such right. These minors have fought for our rights up to the
highest level of legal remedy.

These minors thought of our interest and right. These minors battled for our sons and daughters
and those yet to come. These minors were concern for us to live in a balanced and healthful
ecology. Sadly, we, who are learned and with discernment, are oblivious. Until when do we learn
our lesson? In the Oposa Case, they furthered the rights of their generation and the rights of the
generations yet unborn to a balance and healthful ecology.

Put a little differently, the minor's assertion to 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. This is an eye opener.

If these minors did their part, how much more those with discernment, and especially those who
are legally knowledgeable. We must all remember that we all have an intergenerational
responsibility to our future generations.

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