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WHY DOLPHINS MAY SUE

IN THE PHILIPPINES

Mr. Benjamin A. Cabrido Jr., LLB, LLM-C
Professor, Environmental Law
University of San Jose-Recoletos
College of Law
Cebu City, Philippines

Dolphins v. Secretary Reyes, et al,
SC-G.R. No. 180771

PETITIONERS
• Resident Marine Mammals of Tañon

Strait Protected Seascape, e.g.
Toothed Whales, Dolphins, Porpoises
& other cetacean species.
• Legal Guardians: Gloria Estenzo
Ramos and Rose-Liza Eisma Osorio.
• President Arroyo, Unwilling Guardian

Ltd. ..RESPONDENTS • Energy Secretary Reyes • Environment Secretary Atienza • Japan Petroleum Exploration Co.

recoverable: 100 million barrels .BATTLEGROUND: Tañon Strait • A narrow body of sea • • • separating the Philippine Islands of Negros and Cebu It is home to 11 out of the 24 known cetacean species Declared as Protected Seascape in 1998 Estimated Oil Reserve: 1B barrels.

Resident Cetaceans in Tañon Strait • • • • • • • • • • • Spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) Spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuata) Common bottlenose dolphins Risso’s dolphins Fraser’s dolphins Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) Pilot whales Pymy killer whales False killer whales Dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima) Melon Headed (Peponocephala electra) .

850 sq.THE PROBLEM CREATED BY THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT • Phil. 2007: JAPEX started exploration drilling of 3.150m depth . 21.10. 46 to JAPEX (Dec. 2004) • Coverage area: 2.km. Gov’t awarded Service Contract No. (almost the entire Tañon Strait) • May 2005: M/S Veritas Searcher of JAPEX started the 751-km multi-channel subbottom profiling survey • Nov.

AFTER-SEISMIC SURVEY FINDINGS • Reduced Fish Catch (50-70%) • Fish Kills • Lack of public participation from stakeholders in the preparation of ECC .

• VIOLATION OF PHIL. ET AL.MAJOR ISSUES • LOCUS STANDI OF DOLPHINS. CONSTITUTION & INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS • NON-CORFORMANCE TO EIA LAW .

LOCUS STANDI (Legal Standing of Dolphins & Whales) .I.

LOCUS STANDI • A right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question. . • Court Discretion. • Mere procedural technicality.

Two Classes of Locus Standi in The Philippines • Private Suits • Public Suits .

”  • Real Party In Interest: “The party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. Rules of Court: “Every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest. Rule 3.PRIVATE SUITS • Section 2.” .

Concerned Citizen’s suit .PUBLIC SUITS • Citizen’s Suit .Voter’s Suit .Legislator’s Suit • Taxpayer’s Suit .

• People are real parties-in-interest.CITIZEN’S SUIT • Matter of mere public right. and • Right & Duty of every citizen to interfere and see that public offence be properly pursued and punished and grievance remedied. .

TAXPAYER’S SUIT • Right of a citizen and a taxpayer to maintain an action in courts. . • To restrain the unlawful use of public funds to his injury.

and • Has sustained.DIRECT INJURY TESTS • A personal and substantial interest in the case. or will sustain direct injury as a result .

regulations and rulings. • Allows ordinary citizens. • Due to far-reaching implications.DOCTRINE ON TRANSCEDENTAL IMPORTANCE • Applies if Petitioners fail in showing direct injury.  . members of Congress. and civic organizations to prosecute actions involving the constitutionality or validity of laws.

Public Estates Authority • The enforcement of the constitutional right to information and the equitable diffusion of natural resources are matters of transcendental importance which clothe the petitioner with locus standi.Chavez v. .

• These basic rights need not even be written in the Constitution for they are assumed to exist from the inception of humankind.Oposa v. the advancement of which predate all government and constitution. . Factoran • (T)he right to a balanced and healthy ecology belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less than self-preservation and selfperpetuation.

LEGAL THEORIES • Stipulations Pour Autrui • Incorporation of International Laws • Hard Look Doctrine .

STIPULATION POUR AUTRUI • A stipulation conferring a clear and deliberate right or benefit to a third ‘party’ in a contract. • Acceptance. • Beneficiary may demand its fulfillment before revoked. .

and • Legal or equitable claim to the benefit of the promise or an equivalent from him personally. • Obligation or duty due from the promisee. • Privity between the promise and the party to be benefited. .Requisites for Application of Stipulation Pour Autrui • Intent by the promise to secure some benefit to the third party .

Agenda 21 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development • 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity • 1979 Bonn Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals .INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS CONFERRING BENEFITS TO DOLPHINS & WHALES • United Nations Charter for Nature • Chapter 15.

to representative samples of all the different types of ecosystems and to the habitats of rare or endangered species. Special protection to unique areas. Not to compromise the genetic viability on the earth.PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE UN Charter for Nature • Respect of nature and non-impairment of its • • • • essential processes. . whether wild or domesticated in order that their population levels would at least be sufficient for their survival. Maintain sustainable productivity that would not in any way endanger the integrity of those other ecosystems or species with which they coexist. Safeguard the habitats of all life forms.

• In situ conservation of ecosystems and natural habitats. as well as primitive cultivars and their wild relatives. • Maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings.Agenda 21 UNCTAD • Government must take action for the conservation of biological diversity. . and implement ex situ measures.

. natural habitats and the maintenance of viable populations of species in natural surroundings. • Ex situ conservation: Adopt measures for the recovery and rehabilitation of threatened species and for their reintroduction into their natural habitats under appropriate conditions.1992 Bonn Convention on Biological Diversity • In situ conservation: Promote the protection of ecosystems.

2. 1987 Philippine Constitution • Santos III vs.” . Angara (272 SCRA . Northwest Orient Airlines. II. 1997): “In the event that a treaty obligation conflicts with local legislation.APPLICABILITY OF INTERNATIONAL LAWS IN THE PHILIPPINES • Doctrine of Incorporation: Sec. 210 SCRA 261 [1992]: “Convention which is a Treaty commitment voluntarily assumed by the Philippine government has the force and effect of law in this country. Art. such a state is “bound to make in its legislations such modifications as may be necessary to ensure the fulfillment of the obligations undertaken.” • Tanada vs.

XII.VIOLATIONS IN THE CONSTITUTION & LAWS • Jura Regalia (Sec. Art. 9147 (Wildlife Resources Conservation & Protection Act) • Fisheries Code of 1998 (R.A. 8550) . 2. 1987 Constitution) • R.A.

joint venture. and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State. development. or • co-production. or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens.Regalian Doctrine • The exploration. or productionsharing agreements with Filipino citizens. . • State’s direct undertaking.

27. effecting any of the following acts in critical habitat(s): . 9147 • It shall be unlawful for any person to undertake the following acts: c. .A. R.Mineral Exploration in Tañon Strait is Illegal SEC.mineral exploration and/or extraction.

• Consistent with international treaties and agreements.A. 8550: • Protect the rights of fisher folks. R. • By giving them preferential use of the municipal waters.Fishermen’s Preferential Use Over Tañon Strait Sec. . 2(d).

and disclosure of sources . • Courts should carefully check every EIS for completeness of information and detail. thorough discussion of alternatives. soundness of analysis.HARD LOOK DOCTRINE • All agencies "to the fullest extent possible" must provide a detailed environmental impact statement (EIS).

On Behalf of My Clients: Thank you .