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Case Title: Oposa vs. Factoran (G.R. No.

101083 | 1993-07-30)
Topic: Proper Party (locus standi) [under Topic C: The Constitution and the Courts; subtopic 2:
requisites of judicial review]
Ponente: Justice Hilario G. Davide
Facts of the Case:
Petitioners: minors and their respective parents and the Philippine Ecological Network, Inc.
Respondents: Hon. Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr., in his capacity as the Sec. of the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (substituted by Hon. Angel C. Alcala)

The petition stems from a civil case instituted by minors duly represented and joined by
their respective parents against Fulgencio S. Factoran, the then Secretary of the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The complaint was instituted as a taxpayers' class
suit and alleges that the plaintiffs "are all citizens of the Republic of the Philippines, taxpayers,
and entitled to the full benefit, use and enjoyment of the natural resource treasure that is the
country's virgin tropical rainforests."
The same was filed for themselves and others who are equally concerned about the
preservation of said resource. The petitioners also aver that they represent their generation
and generations yet born (by virtue of inter-generational responsibility and intergenerational justice.)
In the said civil case, the petitioners prayed to have all existing timber license
agreements (TLAs) cancelled and for the DENR Secretary to cease and desist from approving
new TLAs. They sought to prevent the misappropriation or impairment of Philippine
rainforests and arrest the unabated hemorrhage of the countrys vital life-support systems and
continue rape of Mother Earth.
The case was dismissed by the lower court on the ground inter alia that the plaintiffs
were not proper parties, hence the filing of a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65
asking the Court to set aside the judgment.
Petitioner's Contention:
1. The complaint clearly and unmistakably states a cause of action as it contains sufficient
allegations concerning their right to a sound environment based on Articles 19, 20 and

21 of the Civil Code (Human Relations), Section 4 of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 192
creating the DENR, Section 3 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1151 (Philippine
Environmental Policy), Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Constitution recognizing the right
of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology, the concept of generational genocide
in Criminal Law and the concept of man's inalienable right to self-preservation and selfperpetuation embodied in natural law.
2. The respondent has a correlative obligation, per Section 4 of E.O. No. 192, to safeguard
the people's right to a healthful environment.
3. Petitioners minors assert that they represent their generation as well as generations
yet unborn, hence they are proper parties.
Defendants Contention:
On the matter of proper party, the challenged RTC order stated that the complaint fell
short in alleging with sufficient definiteness, a specific legal right they are seeking to enforce
and protect, or a specific legal wrong they are seeking to prevent and redress (Sec. 1, Rule 2,
RRC). Furthermore, the Court notes that the Complaint is replete with vague assumptions and
vague conclusions based on unverified data. In fine, plaintiffs fail to state a cause of action in its
Complaint against the herein defendant.
D. Issue: Whether or not the petitioners have legal standing.
E. Supreme Court Decision
The Supreme Court reversed the lower courts decision to dismiss the case on the
ground that the plaintiffs were not proper parties. Petitioners have the legal standing. In fact,
they can, for themselves, for others of their generation, and for succeeding generations, file a
class suit. Their personality to sue on behalf of succeeding generation can only be based on
the personality concept of intergenerational responsibility insofar as the right to a balanced
and healthful ecology is concerned.
The complaint focuses on a fundamental natural and legal right enshrined in the
Constitution. The same right and source of obligation can justify the claimed inter-generational
responsibility. Hence, they may bring the matter at hand to court and be granted the proper
recognition.
Section 16, Article II which recognizes above all: THE STATE SHALL PROTECT AND
ADVANCE THE RIGHT TO A BALANCED AND HEALTHFUL ECOLOGY IN ACCORD WITH THE
RHYTHM AND HARMONY OF NATURE. Said provision is recognized as self executory and hence
may be a source of obligation upon the state without need of further positive act from
Congress.

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