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G.R. No.

101083 July 30, 1993

JUAN ANTONIO, ANNA ROSARIO and JOSE ALFONSO, all surnamed OPOSA, DAVIDE, JR., J.:
minors, and represented by their parents ANTONIO and RIZALINA OPOSA,
ROBERTA NICOLE SADIUA, minor, represented by her parents CALVIN and In a broader sense, this petition bears upon the right of Filipinos to a balanced and
ROBERTA SADIUA, CARLO, AMANDA SALUD and PATRISHA, all surnamed healthful ecology which the petitioners dramatically associate with the twin concepts of
FLORES, minors and represented by their parents ENRICO and NIDA FLORES, "inter-generational responsibility" and "inter-generational justice." Specifically, it touches
GIANINA DITA R. FORTUN, minor, represented by her parents SIGRID and on the issue of whether the said petitioners have a cause of action to "prevent the
DOLORES FORTUN, GEORGE II and MA. CONCEPCION, all surnamed MISA, misappropriation or impairment" of Philippine rainforests and "arrest the unabated
minors and represented by their parents GEORGE and MYRA MISA, BENJAMIN hemorrhage of the country's vital life support systems and continued rape of Mother
ALAN V. PESIGAN, minor, represented by his parents ANTONIO and ALICE Earth."
PESIGAN, JOVIE MARIE ALFARO, minor, represented by her parents JOSE and
MARIA VIOLETA ALFARO, MARIA CONCEPCION T. CASTRO, minor, represented
The controversy has its genesis in Civil Case No. 90-77 which was filed before Branch
by her parents FREDENIL and JANE CASTRO, JOHANNA DESAMPARADO,
66 (Makati, Metro Manila) of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), National Capital Judicial
minor, represented by her parents JOSE and ANGELA DESAMPRADO, CARLO
Region. The principal plaintiffs therein, now the principal petitioners, are all minors duly
JOAQUIN T. NARVASA, minor, represented by his parents GREGORIO II and
represented and joined by their respective parents. Impleaded as an additional plaintiff is
CRISTINE CHARITY NARVASA, MA. MARGARITA, JESUS IGNACIO, MA. ANGELA
the Philippine Ecological Network, Inc. (PENI), a domestic, non-stock and non-profit
and MARIE GABRIELLE, all surnamed SAENZ, minors, represented by their
corporation organized for the purpose of, inter alia, engaging in concerted action geared
parents ROBERTO and AURORA SAENZ, KRISTINE, MARY ELLEN, MAY, GOLDA
for the protection of our environment and natural resources. The original defendant was
MARTHE and DAVID IAN, all surnamed KING, minors, represented by their parents
the Honorable Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr., then Secretary of the Department of
MARIO and HAYDEE KING, DAVID, FRANCISCO and THERESE VICTORIA, all
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). His substitution in this petition by the new
surnamed ENDRIGA, minors, represented by their parents BALTAZAR and
Secretary, the Honorable Angel C. Alcala, was subsequently ordered upon proper motion
TERESITA ENDRIGA, JOSE MA. and REGINA MA., all surnamed ABAYA, minors,
by the petitioners.1 The complaint2 was instituted as a taxpayers' class suit3 and alleges
represented by their parents ANTONIO and MARICA ABAYA, MARILIN, MARIO, JR.
that the plaintiffs "are all citizens of the Republic of the Philippines, taxpayers, and
and MARIETTE, all surnamed CARDAMA, minors, represented by their parents
entitled to the full benefit, use and enjoyment of the natural resource treasure that is the
MARIO and LINA CARDAMA, CLARISSA, ANN MARIE, NAGEL, and IMEE LYN, all
country's virgin tropical forests." The same was filed for themselves and others who are
surnamed OPOSA, minors and represented by their parents RICARDO and
equally concerned about the preservation of said resource but are "so numerous that it is
MARISSA OPOSA, PHILIP JOSEPH, STEPHEN JOHN and ISAIAH JAMES, all
impracticable to bring them all before the Court." The minors further asseverate that they
surnamed QUIPIT, minors, represented by their parents JOSE MAX and VILMI
"represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn."4 Consequently, it is
QUIPIT, BUGHAW CIELO, CRISANTO, ANNA, DANIEL and FRANCISCO, all
prayed for that judgment be rendered:
surnamed BIBAL, minors, represented by their parents FRANCISCO, JR. and
MILAGROS BIBAL, and THE PHILIPPINE ECOLOGICAL NETWORK,
INC., petitioners, . . . ordering defendant, his agents, representatives and other persons
vs. acting in his behalf to —
THE HONORABLE FULGENCIO S. FACTORAN, JR., in his capacity as the
Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and THE (1) Cancel all existing timber license agreements in the country;
HONORABLE ERIBERTO U. ROSARIO, Presiding Judge of the RTC, Makati,
Branch 66, respondents. (2) Cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or
approving new timber license agreements.
Oposa Law Office for petitioners.
and granting the plaintiffs ". . . such other reliefs just and equitable under the premises."5
The Solicitor General for respondents.
The complaint starts off with the general averments that the Philippine archipelago of
7,100 islands has a land area of thirty million (30,000,000) hectares and is endowed with
rich, lush and verdant rainforests in which varied, rare and unique species of flora and 8. Twenty-five (25) years ago, the Philippines had some sixteen (16)
fauna may be found; these rainforests contain a genetic, biological and chemical pool million hectares of rainforests constituting roughly 53% of the country's
which is irreplaceable; they are also the habitat of indigenous Philippine cultures which land mass.
have existed, endured and flourished since time immemorial; scientific evidence reveals
that in order to maintain a balanced and healthful ecology, the country's land area should 9. Satellite images taken in 1987 reveal that there remained no more than
be utilized on the basis of a ratio of fifty-four per cent (54%) for forest cover and forty-six 1.2 million hectares of said rainforests or four per cent (4.0%) of the
per cent (46%) for agricultural, residential, industrial, commercial and other uses; the country's land area.
distortion and disturbance of this balance as a consequence of deforestation have
resulted in a host of environmental tragedies, such as (a) water shortages resulting from 10. More recent surveys reveal that a mere 850,000 hectares of virgin
drying up of the water table, otherwise known as the "aquifer," as well as of rivers, old-growth rainforests are left, barely 2.8% of the entire land mass of the
brooks and streams, (b) salinization of the water table as a result of the intrusion therein Philippine archipelago and about 3.0 million hectares of immature and
of salt water, incontrovertible examples of which may be found in the island of Cebu and uneconomical secondary growth forests.
the Municipality of Bacoor, Cavite, (c) massive erosion and the consequential loss of soil
fertility and agricultural productivity, with the volume of soil eroded estimated at one
11. Public records reveal that the defendant's, predecessors have
billion (1,000,000,000) cubic meters per annum — approximately the size of the entire
granted timber license agreements ('TLA's') to various corporations to cut
island of Catanduanes, (d) the endangering and extinction of the country's unique, rare
the aggregate area of 3.89 million hectares for commercial logging
and varied flora and fauna, (e) the disturbance and dislocation of cultural communities,
purposes.
including the disappearance of the Filipino's indigenous cultures, (f) the siltation of rivers
and seabeds and consequential destruction of corals and other aquatic life leading to a
critical reduction in marine resource productivity, (g) recurrent spells of drought as is A copy of the TLA holders and the corresponding areas covered is hereto
presently experienced by the entire country, (h) increasing velocity of typhoon winds attached as Annex "A".
which result from the absence of windbreakers, (i) the floodings of lowlands and
agricultural plains arising from the absence of the absorbent mechanism of forests, (j) the 12. At the present rate of deforestation, i.e. about 200,000 hectares per
siltation and shortening of the lifespan of multi-billion peso dams constructed and annum or 25 hectares per hour — nighttime, Saturdays, Sundays and
operated for the purpose of supplying water for domestic uses, irrigation and the holidays included — the Philippines will be bereft of forest resources after
generation of electric power, and (k) the reduction of the earth's capacity to process the end of this ensuing decade, if not earlier.
carbon dioxide gases which has led to perplexing and catastrophic climatic changes
such as the phenomenon of global warming, otherwise known as the "greenhouse 13. The adverse effects, disastrous consequences, serious injury and
effect." irreparable damage of this continued trend of deforestation to the plaintiff
minor's generation and to generations yet unborn are evident and
Plaintiffs further assert that the adverse and detrimental consequences of continued and incontrovertible. As a matter of fact, the environmental damages
deforestation are so capable of unquestionable demonstration that the same may be enumerated in paragraph 6 hereof are already being felt, experienced
submitted as a matter of judicial notice. This notwithstanding, they expressed their and suffered by the generation of plaintiff adults.
intention to present expert witnesses as well as documentary, photographic and film
evidence in the course of the trial. 14. The continued allowance by defendant of TLA holders to cut and
deforest the remaining forest stands will work great damage and
As their cause of action, they specifically allege that: irreparable injury to plaintiffs — especially plaintiff minors and their
successors — who may never see, use, benefit from and enjoy this rare
CAUSE OF ACTION and unique natural resource treasure.

7. Plaintiffs replead by reference the foregoing allegations. This act of defendant constitutes a misappropriation and/or impairment of
the natural resource property he holds in trust for the benefit of plaintiff
minors and succeeding generations.
15. Plaintiffs have a clear and constitutional right to a balanced and b. "protect the nation's marine wealth." (Section 2, ibid);
healthful ecology and are entitled to protection by the State in its capacity
as the parens patriae. c. "conserve and promote the nation's cultural heritage and resources
(sic)" (Section 14, Article XIV, id.);
16. Plaintiff have exhausted all administrative remedies with the
defendant's office. On March 2, 1990, plaintiffs served upon defendant a d. "protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and
final demand to cancel all logging permits in the country. healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature."
(Section 16, Article II, id.)
A copy of the plaintiffs' letter dated March 1, 1990 is hereto attached as
Annex "B". 21. Finally, defendant's act is contrary to the highest law of humankind —
the natural law — and violative of plaintiffs' right to self-preservation and
17. Defendant, however, fails and refuses to cancel the existing TLA's to perpetuation.
the continuing serious damage and extreme prejudice of plaintiffs.
22. There is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in law other
18. The continued failure and refusal by defendant to cancel the TLA's is than the instant action to arrest the unabated hemorrhage of the country's
an act violative of the rights of plaintiffs, especially plaintiff minors who vital life support systems and continued rape of Mother Earth. 6
may be left with a country that is desertified (sic), bare, barren and devoid
of the wonderful flora, fauna and indigenous cultures which the On 22 June 1990, the original defendant, Secretary Factoran, Jr., filed a Motion to
Philippines had been abundantly blessed with. Dismiss the complaint based on two (2) grounds, namely: (1) the plaintiffs have no cause
of action against him and (2) the issue raised by the plaintiffs is a political question which
19. Defendant's refusal to cancel the aforementioned TLA's is manifestly properly pertains to the legislative or executive branches of Government. In their 12 July
contrary to the public policy enunciated in the Philippine Environmental 1990 Opposition to the Motion, the petitioners maintain that (1) the complaint shows a
Policy which, in pertinent part, states that it is the policy of the State — clear and unmistakable cause of action, (2) the motion is dilatory and (3) the action
presents a justiciable question as it involves the defendant's abuse of discretion.
(a) to create, develop, maintain and improve conditions under which man
and nature can thrive in productive and enjoyable harmony with each On 18 July 1991, respondent Judge issued an order granting the aforementioned motion
other; to dismiss.7 In the said order, not only was the defendant's claim — that the complaint
states no cause of action against him and that it raises a political question — sustained,
(b) to fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and the respondent Judge further ruled that the granting of the relief prayed for would result
future generations of Filipinos and; in the impairment of contracts which is prohibited by the fundamental law of the land.

(c) to ensure the attainment of an environmental quality that is conductive Plaintiffs thus filed the instant special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the
to a life of dignity and well-being. (P.D. 1151, 6 June 1977) Revised Rules of Court and ask this Court to rescind and set aside the dismissal order
on the ground that the respondent Judge gravely abused his discretion in dismissing the
20. Furthermore, defendant's continued refusal to cancel the action. Again, the parents of the plaintiffs-minors not only represent their children, but
aforementioned TLA's is contradictory to the Constitutional policy of the have also joined the latter in this case.8
State to —
On 14 May 1992, We resolved to give due course to the petition and required the parties
a. effect "a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income and to submit their respective Memoranda after the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed
wealth" and "make full and efficient use of natural resources (sic)." a Comment in behalf of the respondents and the petitioners filed a reply thereto.
(Section 1, Article XII of the Constitution);
Petitioners contend that 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 said civil case is indeed a class suit. The subject matter of the complaint is of common
Order (E.O.) No. 192 creating the DENR, Section 3 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. and general interest not just to several, but to all citizens of the Philippines.
1151 (Philippine Environmental Policy), Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Constitution Consequently, since the parties are so numerous, it, becomes impracticable, if not totally
recognizing the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology, the concept of impossible, to bring all of them before the court. We likewise declare that the plaintiffs
generational genocide in Criminal Law and the concept of man's inalienable right to self- therein are numerous and representative enough to ensure the full protection of all
preservation and self-perpetuation embodied in natural law. Petitioners likewise rely on concerned interests. Hence, all the requisites for the filing of a valid class suit under
the respondent's correlative obligation per Section 4 of E.O. No. 192, to safeguard the Section 12, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court are present both in the said civil case
people's right to a healthful environment. and in the instant petition, the latter being but an incident to the former.

It is further claimed that the issue of the respondent Secretary's alleged grave abuse of This case, however, has a special and novel element. Petitioners minors assert that they
discretion in granting Timber License Agreements (TLAs) to cover more areas for logging represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn. We find no difficulty in
than what is available involves a judicial question. 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
Anent the invocation by the respondent Judge of the Constitution's non-impairment generations can only be based on the concept of intergenerational responsibility insofar
clause, petitioners maintain that the same does not apply in this case because TLAs are as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned. Such a right, as
not contracts. They likewise submit that even if TLAs may be considered protected by hereinafter expounded, considers
the said clause, it is well settled that they may still be revoked by the State when the the "rhythm and harmony of nature." Nature means the created world in its
public interest so requires. entirety.9 Such rhythm and harmony indispensably include, inter alia, the judicious
disposition, utilization, management, renewal and conservation of the country's forest,
On the other hand, the respondents aver that the petitioners failed to allege in their mineral, land, waters, fisheries, wildlife, off-shore areas and other natural resources to
complaint a specific legal right violated by the respondent Secretary for which any relief the end that their exploration, development and utilization be equitably accessible to the
is provided by law. They see nothing in the complaint but vague and nebulous present as well as future generations. 10 Needless to say, every generation has a
allegations concerning an "environmental right" which supposedly entitles the petitioners responsibility to the next to preserve that rhythm and harmony for the full enjoyment of a
to the "protection by the state in its capacity as parens patriae." Such allegations, balanced and healthful ecology. Put a little differently, the minors' assertion of their right
according to them, do not reveal a valid cause of action. They then reiterate the theory to a sound environment constitutes, at the same time, the performance of their obligation
that the question of whether logging should be permitted in the country is a political to ensure the protection of that right for the generations to come.
question which should be properly addressed to the executive or legislative branches of
Government. They therefore assert that the petitioners' resources is not to file an action The locus standi of the petitioners having thus been addressed, We shall now proceed to
to court, but to lobby before Congress for the passage of a bill that would ban logging the merits of the petition.
totally.
After a careful perusal of the complaint in question and a meticulous consideration and
As to the matter of the cancellation of the TLAs, respondents submit that the same evaluation of the issues raised and arguments adduced by the parties, We do not
cannot be done by the State without due process of law. Once issued, a TLA remains hesitate to find for the petitioners and rule against the respondent Judge's challenged
effective for a certain period of time — usually for twenty-five (25) years. During its order for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
effectivity, the same can neither be revised nor cancelled unless the holder has been jurisdiction. The pertinent portions of the said order reads as follows:
found, after due notice and hearing, to have violated the terms of the agreement or other
forestry laws and regulations. Petitioners' proposition to have all the TLAs xxx xxx xxx
indiscriminately cancelled without the requisite hearing would be violative of the
requirements of due process. After a careful and circumspect evaluation of the Complaint, the Court
cannot help but agree with the defendant. For although we believe that
Before going any further, We must first focus on some procedural matters. Petitioners plaintiffs have but the noblest of all intentions, it (sic) fell short of alleging,
instituted Civil Case No. 90-777 as a class suit. The original defendant and the present with sufficient definiteness, a specific legal right they are seeking to
respondents did not take issue with this matter. Nevertheless, We hereby rule that the 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 the advancement of which may even be said to predate all governments and
Complaint is replete with vague assumptions and vague conclusions constitutions. As a matter of fact, these basic rights need not even be written in the
based on unverified data. In fine, plaintiffs fail to state a cause of action in Constitution for they are assumed to exist from the inception of humankind. If they are
its Complaint against the herein defendant. now explicitly mentioned in the fundamental charter, it is because of the well-founded
fear of its framers that unless the rights to a balanced and healthful ecology and to health
Furthermore, the Court firmly believes that the matter before it, being are mandated as state policies by the Constitution itself, thereby highlighting their
impressed with political color and involving a matter of public policy, may continuing importance and imposing upon the state a solemn obligation to preserve the
not be taken cognizance of by this Court without doing violence to the first and protect and advance the second, the day would not be too far when all else
sacred principle of "Separation of Powers" of the three (3) co-equal would be lost not only for the present generation, but also for those to come —
branches of the Government. generations which stand to inherit nothing but parched earth incapable of sustaining life.

The Court is likewise of the impression that it cannot, no matter how we The right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries with it the correlative duty to refrain
stretch our jurisdiction, grant the reliefs prayed for by the plaintiffs, i.e., to from impairing the environment. During the debates on this right in one of the plenary
cancel all existing timber license agreements in the country and to cease sessions of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, the following exchange transpired
and desist from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving between Commissioner Wilfrido Villacorta and Commissioner Adolfo Azcuna who
new timber license agreements. For to do otherwise would amount to sponsored the section in question:
"impairment of contracts" abhored (sic) by the fundamental law. 11
MR. VILLACORTA:
We do not agree with the trial court's conclusions that the plaintiffs failed to allege with
sufficient definiteness a specific legal right involved or a specific legal wrong committed, Does this section mandate the State to provide sanctions
and that the complaint is replete with vague assumptions and conclusions based on against all forms of pollution — air, water and noise
unverified data. A reading of the complaint itself belies these conclusions. pollution?

The complaint focuses on one specific fundamental legal right — the right to a balanced MR. AZCUNA:
and healthful ecology which, for the first time in our nation's constitutional history, is
solemnly incorporated in the fundamental law. Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Yes, Madam President. The right to healthful (sic)
Constitution explicitly provides: environment necessarily carries with it the correlative duty
of not impairing the same and, therefore, sanctions may
Sec. 16. The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a be provided for impairment of environmental balance. 12
balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of
nature. The said right implies, among many other things, the judicious management and
conservation of the country's forests.
This right unites with the right to health which is provided for in the
preceding section of the same article: Without such forests, the ecological or environmental balance would be
irreversiby disrupted.
Sec. 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the
people and instill health consciousness among them. Conformably with the enunciated right to a balanced and healthful ecology and the right
to health, as well as the other related provisions of the Constitution concerning the
While the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is to be found under the Declaration conservation, development and utilization of the country's natural resources, 13 then
of Principles and State Policies and not under the Bill of Rights, it does not follow that it is President Corazon C. Aquino promulgated on 10 June 1987 E.O. No. 192, 14 Section 4 of
less important than any of the civil and political rights enumerated in the latter. Such a which expressly mandates that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
right belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less than "shall be the primary government agency responsible for the conservation, management,
self-preservation and self-perpetuation — aptly and fittingly stressed by the petitioners — development and proper use of the country's environment and natural resources,
specifically forest and grazing lands, mineral, resources, including those in reservation Sec. 2. Mandate. — (1) The Department of Environment and Natural
and watershed areas, and lands of the public domain, as well as the licensing and Resources shall be primarily responsible for the implementation of the
regulation of all natural resources as may be provided for by law in order to ensure foregoing policy.
equitable sharing of the benefits derived therefrom for the welfare of the present and
future generations of Filipinos." Section 3 thereof makes the following statement of (2) It shall, subject to law and higher authority, be in charge of carrying
policy: out the State's constitutional mandate to control and supervise the
exploration, development, utilization, and conservation of the country's
Sec. 3. Declaration of Policy. — It is hereby declared the policy of the natural resources.
State to ensure the sustainable use, development, management,
renewal, and conservation of the country's forest, mineral, land, off-shore Both E.O. NO. 192 and the Administrative Code of 1987 have set the objectives which
areas and other natural resources, including the protection and will serve as the bases for policy formulation, and have defined the powers and functions
enhancement of the quality of the environment, and equitable access of of the DENR.
the different segments of the population to the development and the use
of the country's natural resources, not only for the present generation but It may, however, be recalled that even before the ratification of the 1987 Constitution,
for future generations as well. It is also the policy of the state to recognize specific statutes already paid special attention to the "environmental right" of the present
and apply a true value system including social and environmental cost and future generations. On 6 June 1977, P.D. No. 1151 (Philippine Environmental Policy)
implications relative to their utilization, development and conservation of and P.D. No. 1152 (Philippine Environment Code) were issued. The former "declared a
our natural resources. continuing policy of the State (a) to create, develop, maintain and improve conditions
under which man and nature can thrive in productive and enjoyable harmony with each
This policy declaration is substantially re-stated it Title XIV, Book IV of the Administrative other, (b) to fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future
Code of 1987,15 specifically in Section 1 thereof which reads: generations of Filipinos, and (c) to insure the attainment of an environmental quality that
is conducive to a life of dignity and well-being." 16 As its goal, it speaks of the
Sec. 1. Declaration of Policy. — (1) The State shall ensure, for the benefit "responsibilities of each generation as trustee and guardian of the environment for
of the Filipino people, the full exploration and development as well as the succeeding generations." 17 The latter statute, on the other hand, gave flesh to the said
judicious disposition, utilization, management, renewal and conservation policy.
of the country's forest, mineral, land, waters, fisheries, wildlife, off-shore
areas and other natural resources, consistent with the necessity of Thus, the right of the petitioners (and all those they represent) to a balanced and
maintaining a sound ecological balance and protecting and enhancing healthful ecology is as clear as the DENR's duty — under its mandate and by virtue of its
the quality of the environment and the objective of making the powers and functions under E.O. No. 192 and the Administrative Code of 1987 — to
exploration, development and utilization of such natural resources protect and advance the said right.
equitably accessible to the different segments of the present as well as
future generations. A denial or violation of that right by the other who has the corelative duty or obligation to
respect or protect the same gives rise to a cause of action. Petitioners maintain that the
(2) The State shall likewise recognize and apply a true value system that granting of the TLAs, which they claim was done with grave abuse of discretion, violated
takes into account social and environmental cost implications relative to their right to a balanced and healthful ecology; hence, the full protection thereof requires
the utilization, development and conservation of our natural resources. that no further TLAs should be renewed or granted.

The above provision stresses "the necessity of maintaining a sound ecological balance A cause of action is defined as:
and protecting and enhancing the quality of the environment." Section 2 of the same
Title, on the other hand, specifically speaks of the mandate of the DENR; however, it . . . an act or omission of one party in violation of the legal right or rights
makes particular reference to the fact of the agency's being subject to law and higher of the other; and its essential elements are legal right of the plaintiff,
authority. Said section provides: correlative obligation of the defendant, and act or omission of the
defendant in violation of said legal right. 18
It is settled in this jurisdiction that in a motion to dismiss based on the ground that the power to enable the courts of justice to review what was before forbidden
complaint fails to state a cause of action, 19 the question submitted to the court for territory, to wit, the discretion of the political departments of the
resolution involves the sufficiency of the facts alleged in the complaint itself. No other government.
matter should be considered; furthermore, the truth of falsity of the said allegations is
beside the point for the truth thereof is deemed hypothetically admitted. The only issue to As worded, the new provision vests in the judiciary, and particularly the
be resolved in such a case is: admitting such alleged facts to be true, may the court Supreme Court, the power to rule upon even the wisdom of the decisions
render a valid judgment in accordance with the prayer in the complaint? 20 In Militante vs. of the executive and the legislature and to declare their acts invalid for
Edrosolano, 21 this Court laid down the rule that the judiciary should "exercise the utmost lack or excess of jurisdiction because tainted with grave abuse of
care and circumspection in passing upon a motion to dismiss on the ground of the discretion. The catch, of course, is the meaning of "grave abuse of
absence thereof [cause of action] lest, by its failure to manifest a correct appreciation of discretion," which is a very elastic phrase that can expand or contract
the facts alleged and deemed hypothetically admitted, what the law grants or recognizes according to the disposition of the judiciary.
is effectively nullified. If that happens, there is a blot on the legal order. The law itself
stands in disrepute." In Daza vs. Singson, 23 Mr. Justice Cruz, now speaking for this Court, noted:

After careful examination of the petitioners' complaint, We find the statements under the In the case now before us, the jurisdictional objection becomes even less
introductory affirmative allegations, as well as the specific averments under the sub- tenable and decisive. The reason is that, even if we were to assume that
heading CAUSE OF ACTION, to be adequate enough to show, prima facie, the claimed the issue presented before us was political in nature, we would still not be
violation of their rights. On the basis thereof, they may thus be granted, wholly or partly, precluded from revolving it under the expanded jurisdiction conferred
the reliefs prayed for. It bears stressing, however, that insofar as the cancellation of the upon us that now covers, in proper cases, even the political question.
TLAs is concerned, there is the need to implead, as party defendants, the grantees Article VII, Section 1, of the Constitution clearly provides: . . .
thereof for they are indispensable parties.
The last ground invoked by the trial court in dismissing the complaint is the non-
The foregoing considered, Civil Case No. 90-777 be said to raise a political question. impairment of contracts clause found in the Constitution. The court a quo declared that:
Policy formulation or determination by the executive or legislative branches of
Government is not squarely put in issue. What is principally involved is the enforcement
The Court is likewise of the impression that it cannot, no matter how we
of a right vis-a-vis policies already formulated and expressed in legislation. It must,
stretch our jurisdiction, grant the reliefs prayed for by the plaintiffs, i.e., to
nonetheless, be emphasized that the political question doctrine is no longer, the
cancel all existing timber license agreements in the country and to cease
insurmountable obstacle to the exercise of judicial power or the impenetrable shield that
and desist from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving
protects executive and legislative actions from judicial inquiry or review. The second
new timber license agreements. For to do otherwise would amount to
paragraph of section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution states that:
"impairment of contracts" abhored (sic) by the fundamental law. 24
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual
We are not persuaded at all; on the contrary, We are amazed, if not shocked, by such a
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and
sweeping pronouncement. In the first place, the respondent Secretary did not, for
enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave
obvious reasons, even invoke in his motion to dismiss the non-impairment clause. If he
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part
had done so, he would have acted with utmost infidelity to the Government by providing
of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.
undue and unwarranted benefits and advantages to the timber license holders because
he would have forever bound the Government to strictly respect the said licenses
Commenting on this provision in his book, Philippine Political Law, 22 Mr. Justice Isagani according to their terms and conditions regardless of changes in policy and the demands
A. Cruz, a distinguished member of this Court, says: of public interest and welfare. He was aware that as correctly pointed out by the
petitioners, into every timber license must be read Section 20 of the Forestry Reform
The first part of the authority represents the traditional concept of judicial Code (P.D. No. 705) which provides:
power, involving the settlement of conflicting rights as conferred as law.
The second part of the authority represents a broadening of judicial
. . . Provided, That when the national interest so requires, the President cannot be invoked.
may amend, modify, replace or rescind any contract, concession, permit,
licenses or any other form of privilege granted herein . . . In the second place, even if it is to be assumed that the same are contracts, the instant
case does not involve a law or even an executive issuance declaring the cancellation or
Needless to say, all licenses may thus be revoked or rescinded by executive modification of existing timber licenses. Hence, the non-impairment clause cannot as yet
action. It is not a contract, property or a property right protested by the due be invoked. Nevertheless, granting further that a law has actually been passed
process clause of the Constitution. In Tan vs. Director of Forestry, 25 this Court mandating cancellations or modifications, the same cannot still be stigmatized as a
held: violation of the non-impairment clause. This is because by its very nature and purpose,
such as law could have only been passed in the exercise of the police power of the state
. . . A timber license is an instrument by which the State regulates the for the purpose of advancing the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology,
utilization and disposition of forest resources to the end that public promoting their health and enhancing the general welfare. In Abe vs. Foster Wheeler
welfare is promoted. A timber license is not a contract within the purview Corp. 28 this Court stated:
of the due process clause; it is only a license or privilege, which can be
validly withdrawn whenever dictated by public interest or public welfare The freedom of contract, under our system of government, is not meant
as in this case. to be absolute. The same is understood to be subject to reasonable
legislative regulation aimed at the promotion of public health, moral,
A license is merely a permit or privilege to do what otherwise would be safety and welfare. In other words, the constitutional guaranty of non-
unlawful, and is not a contract between the authority, federal, state, or impairment of obligations of contract is limited by the exercise of the
municipal, granting it and the person to whom it is granted; neither is it police power of the State, in the interest of public health, safety, moral
property or a property right, nor does it create a vested right; nor is it and general welfare.
taxation (37 C.J. 168). Thus, this Court held that the granting of license
does not create irrevocable rights, neither is it property or property rights The reason for this is emphatically set forth in Nebia vs. New York, 29 quoted in Philippine
(People vs. Ong Tin, 54 O.G. 7576). American Life Insurance Co. vs. Auditor General,30 to wit:

We reiterated this pronouncement in Felipe Ysmael, Jr. & Co., Inc. vs. Deputy Executive Under our form of government the use of property and the making of
Secretary: 26 contracts are normally matters of private and not of public concern. The
general rule is that both shall be free of governmental interference. But
. . . Timber licenses, permits and license agreements are the principal neither property rights nor contract rights are absolute; for government
instruments by which the State regulates the utilization and disposition of cannot exist if the citizen may at will use his property to the detriment of
forest resources to the end that public welfare is promoted. And it can his fellows, or exercise his freedom of contract to work them harm.
hardly be gainsaid that they merely evidence a privilege granted by the Equally fundamental with the private right is that of the public to regulate
State to qualified entities, and do not vest in the latter a permanent or it in the common interest.
irrevocable right to the particular concession area and the forest products
therein. They may be validly amended, modified, replaced or rescinded In short, the non-impairment clause must yield to the police power of the state. 31
by the Chief Executive when national interests so require. Thus, they are
not deemed contracts within the purview of the due process of law clause Finally, it is difficult to imagine, as the trial court did, how the non-impairment clause
[See Sections 3(ee) and 20 of Pres. Decree No. 705, as amended. Also, could apply with respect to the prayer to enjoin the respondent Secretary from receiving,
Tan v. Director of Forestry, G.R. No. L-24548, October 27, 1983, 125 accepting, processing, renewing or approving new timber licenses for, save in cases
SCRA 302]. of renewal, no contract would have as of yet existed in the other instances. Moreover,
with respect to renewal, the holder is not entitled to it as a matter of right.
Since timber licenses are not contracts, the non-impairment clause, which reads:
WHEREFORE, being impressed with merit, the instant Petition is hereby GRANTED,
Sec. 10. No law impairing, the obligation of contracts shall be passed. 27 and the challenged Order of respondent Judge of 18 July 1991 dismissing Civil Case No.
90-777 is hereby set aside. The petitioners may therefore amend their complaint to
implead as defendants the holders or grantees of the questioned timber license
agreements.

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-14639 March 25, 1919 steamers by a representative of the Bureau of Labor and a detachment of
Constabulary soldiers. The two steamers with their unwilling passengers sailed for
ZACARIAS VILLAVICENCIO, ET AL., petitioners, Davao during the night of October 25.
vs.
JUSTO LUKBAN, ET AL., respondents. The vessels reached their destination at Davao on October 29. The women were
landed and receipted for as laborers by Francisco Sales, provincial governor of
Alfonso Mendoza for petitioners. Davao, and by Feliciano Yñigo and Rafael Castillo. The governor and the hacendero
City Fiscal Diaz for respondents. Yñigo, who appear as parties in the case, had no previous notification that the women
were prostitutes who had been expelled from the city of Manila. The further
MALCOLM, J.: happenings to these women and the serious charges growing out of alleged ill-
treatment are of public interest, but are not essential to the disposition of this case.
The annals of juridical history fail to reveal a case quite as remarkable as the one Suffice it to say, generally, that some of the women married, others assumed more or
which this application for habeas corpus submits for decision. While hardly to be less clandestine relations with men, others went to work in different capacities, others
expected to be met with in this modern epoch of triumphant democracy, yet, after all, assumed a life unknown and disappeared, and a goodly portion found means to return
the cause presents no great difficulty if there is kept in the forefront of our minds the to Manila.
basic principles of popular government, and if we give expression to the paramount
purpose for which the courts, as an independent power of such a government, were To turn back in our narrative, just about the time the Corregidor and the Negros were
constituted. The primary question is — Shall the judiciary permit a government of the putting in to Davao, the attorney for the relatives and friends of a considerable
men instead of a government of laws to be set up in the Philippine Islands? number of the deportees presented an application for habeas corpus to a member of
the Supreme Court. Subsequently, the application, through stipulation of the parties,
Omitting much extraneous matter, of no moment to these proceedings, but which was made to include all of the women who were sent away from Manila to Davao
might prove profitable reading for other departments of the government, the facts are and, as the same questions concerned them all, the application will be considered as
these: The Mayor of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, for the best of all reasons, to including them. The application set forth the salient facts, which need not be repeated,
exterminate vice, ordered the segregated district for women of ill repute, which had and alleged that the women were illegally restrained of their liberty by Justo Lukban,
been permitted for a number of years in the city of Manila, closed. Between October Mayor of the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila,
16 and October 25, 1918, the women were kept confined to their houses in the district and by certain unknown parties. The writ was made returnable before the full court.
by the police. Presumably, during this period, the city authorities quietly perfected The city fiscal appeared for the respondents, Lukban and Hohmann, admitted certain
arrangements with the Bureau of Labor for sending the women to Davao, Mindanao, facts relative to sequestration and deportation, and prayed that the writ should not be
as laborers; with some government office for the use of the coastguard cutters granted because the petitioners were not proper parties, because the action should
Corregidor and Negros, and with the Constabulary for a guard of soldiers. At any have been begun in the Court of First Instance for Davao, Department of Mindanao
rate, about midnight of October 25, the police, acting pursuant to orders from the and Sulu, because the respondents did not have any of the women under their custody
chief of police, Anton Hohmann and the Mayor of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, or control, and because their jurisdiction did not extend beyond the boundaries of the
descended upon the houses, hustled some 170 inmates into patrol wagons, and placed city of Manila. According to an exhibit attached to the answer of the fiscal, the 170
them aboard the steamers that awaited their arrival. The women were given no women were destined to be laborers, at good salaries, on the haciendas of Yñigo and
opportunity to collect their belongings, and apparently were under the impression that Governor Sales. In open court, the fiscal admitted, in answer to question of a member
they were being taken to a police station for an investigation. They had no knowledge of the court, that these women had been sent out of Manila without their consent. The
that they were destined for a life in Mindanao. They had not been asked if they court awarded the writ, in an order of November 4, that directed Justo Lukban, Mayor
wished to depart from that region and had neither directly nor indirectly given their of the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila,
consent to the deportation. The involuntary guests were received on board the Francisco Sales, governor of the province of Davao, and Feliciano Yñigo, an
hacendero of Davao, to bring before the court the persons therein named, alleged to again recounted the facts and further endeavored to account for all of the persons
be deprived of their liberty, on December 2, 1918. involved in the habeas corpus. In substance, it was stated that the respondents,
through their representatives and agents, had succeeded in bringing from Davao with
Before the date mentioned, seven of the women had returned to Manila at their own their consent eight women; that eighty-one women were found in Davao who, on
expense. On motion of counsel for petitioners, their testimony was taken before the notice that if they desired they could return to Manila, transportation fee, renounced
clerk of the Supreme Court sitting as commissioners. On the day named in the order, the right through sworn statements; that fifty-nine had already returned to Manila by
December 2nd, 1918, none of the persons in whose behalf the writ was issued were other means, and that despite all efforts to find them twenty-six could not be located.
produced in court by the respondents. It has been shown that three of those who had Both counsel for petitioners and the city fiscal were permitted to submit memoranda.
been able to come back to Manila through their own efforts, were notified by the The first formally asked the court to find Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila,
police and the secret service to appear before the court. The fiscal appeared, repeated Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila, Jose Rodriguez and Fernando
the facts more comprehensively, reiterated the stand taken by him when pleading to Ordax, members of the police force of the city of Manila, Feliciano Yñigo, an
the original petition copied a telegram from the Mayor of the city of Manila to the hacendero of Davao, Modesto Joaquin, the attorney for the Bureau of Labor, and
provincial governor of Davao and the answer thereto, and telegrams that had passed Anacleto Diaz, fiscal of the city of Manila, in contempt of court. The city fiscal
between the Director of Labor and the attorney for that Bureau then in Davao, and requested that the replica al memorandum de los recurridos, (reply to respondents'
offered certain affidavits showing that the women were contained with their life in memorandum) dated January 25, 1919, be struck from the record.
Mindanao and did not wish to return to Manila. Respondents Sales answered alleging
that it was not possible to fulfill the order of the Supreme Court because the women In the second order, the court promised to give the reasons for granting the writ of
had never been under his control, because they were at liberty in the Province of habeas corpus in the final decision. We will now proceed to do so.
Davao, and because they had married or signed contracts as laborers. Respondent
Yñigo answered alleging that he did not have any of the women under his control and One fact, and one fact only, need be recalled — these one hundred and seventy
that therefore it was impossible for him to obey the mandate. The court, after due women were isolated from society, and then at night, without their consent and
deliberation, on December 10, 1918, promulgated a second order, which related that without any opportunity to consult with friends or to defend their rights, were forcibly
the respondents had not complied with the original order to the satisfaction of the hustled on board steamers for transportation to regions unknown. Despite the feeble
court nor explained their failure to do so, and therefore directed that those of the attempt to prove that the women left voluntarily and gladly, that such was not the case
women not in Manila be brought before the court by respondents Lukban, Hohmann, is shown by the mere fact that the presence of the police and the constabulary was
Sales, and Yñigo on January 13, 1919, unless the women should, in written deemed necessary and that these officers of the law chose the shades of night to cloak
statements voluntarily made before the judge of first instance of Davao or the clerk of their secret and stealthy acts. Indeed, this is a fact impossible to refute and practically
that court, renounce the right, or unless the respondents should demonstrate some admitted by the respondents.
other legal motives that made compliance impossible. It was further stated that the
question of whether the respondents were in contempt of court would later be decided With this situation, a court would next expect to resolve the question — By authority
and the reasons for the order announced in the final decision. of what law did the Mayor and the Chief of Police presume to act in deporting by
duress these persons from Manila to another distant locality within the Philippine
Before January 13, 1919, further testimony including that of a number of the women, Islands? We turn to the statutes and we find —
of certain detectives and policemen, and of the provincial governor of Davao, was
taken before the clerk of the Supreme Court sitting as commissioner and the clerk of Alien prostitutes can be expelled from the Philippine Islands in conformity with an
the Court of First Instance of Davao acting in the same capacity. On January 13, Act of congress. The Governor-General can order the eviction of undesirable aliens
1919, the respondents technically presented before the Court the women who had after a hearing from the Islands. Act No. 519 of the Philippine Commission and
returned to the city through their own efforts and eight others who had been brought section 733 of the Revised Ordinances of the city of Manila provide for the
to Manila by the respondents. Attorneys for the respondents, by their returns, once conviction and punishment by a court of justice of any person who is a common
prostitute. Act No. 899 authorizes the return of any citizen of the United States, who individual liberty and to punish official transgressors. "The law," said Justice Miller,
may have been convicted of vagrancy, to the homeland. New York and other States delivering the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States, "is the only
have statutes providing for the commitment to the House of Refuge of women supreme power in our system of government, and every man who by accepting office
convicted of being common prostitutes. Always a law! Even when the health participates in its functions is only the more strongly bound to submit to that
authorities compel vaccination, or establish a quarantine, or place a leprous person in supremacy, and to observe the limitations which it imposes upon the exercise of the
the Culion leper colony, it is done pursuant to some law or order. But one can search authority which it gives." (U.S. vs. Lee [1882], 106 U.S., 196, 220.) "The very idea,"
in vain for any law, order, or regulation, which even hints at the right of the Mayor of said Justice Matthews of the same high tribunal in another case, "that one man may
the city of Manila or the chief of police of that city to force citizens of the Philippine be compelled to hold his life, or the means of living, or any material right essential to
Islands — and these women despite their being in a sense lepers of society are the enjoyment of life, at the mere will of another, seems to be intolerable in any
nevertheless not chattels but Philippine citizens protected by the same constitutional country where freedom prevails, as being the essence of slavery itself." (Yick Wo vs.
guaranties as are other citizens — to change their domicile from Manila to another Hopkins [1886], 118 U.S., 356, 370.) All this explains the motive in issuing the writ
locality. On the contrary, Philippine penal law specifically punishes any public officer of habeas corpus, and makes clear why we said in the very beginning that the primary
who, not being expressly authorized by law or regulation, compels any person to question was whether the courts should permit a government of men or a government
change his residence. of laws to be established in the Philippine Islands.

In other countries, as in Spain and Japan, the privilege of domicile is deemed so What are the remedies of the unhappy victims of official oppression? The remedies of
important as to be found in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. Under the American the citizen are three: (1) Civil action; (2) criminal action, and (3) habeas corpus.
constitutional system, liberty of abode is a principle so deeply imbedded in
jurisprudence and considered so elementary in nature as not even to require a The first is an optional but rather slow process by which the aggrieved party may
constitutional sanction. Even the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands, even the recoup money damages. It may still rest with the parties in interest to pursue such an
President of the United States, who has often been said to exercise more power than action, but it was never intended effectively and promptly to meet any such situation
any king or potentate, has no such arbitrary prerogative, either inherent or express. as that now before us.
Much less, therefore, has the executive of a municipality, who acts within a sphere of
delegated powers. If the mayor and the chief of police could, at their mere behest or As to criminal responsibility, it is true that the Penal Code in force in these Islands
even for the most praiseworthy of motives, render the liberty of the citizen so provides:
insecure, then the presidents and chiefs of police of one thousand other municipalities
of the Philippines have the same privilege. If these officials can take to themselves Any public officer not thereunto authorized by law or by regulations of a
such power, then any other official can do the same. And if any official can exercise general character in force in the Philippines who shall banish any person to a
the power, then all persons would have just as much right to do so. And if a prostitute place more than two hundred kilometers distant from his domicile, except it
could be sent against her wishes and under no law from one locality to another within be by virtue of the judgment of a court, shall be punished by a fine of not less
the country, then officialdom can hold the same club over the head of any citizen. than three hundred and twenty-five and not more than three thousand two
hundred and fifty pesetas.
Law defines power. Centuries ago Magna Charta decreed that — "No freeman shall
be taken, or imprisoned, or be disseized of his freehold, or liberties, or free customs, Any public officer not thereunto expressly authorized by law or by regulation
or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will we pass upon him nor of a general character in force in the Philippines who shall compel any person
condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. We will to change his domicile or residence shall suffer the penalty of destierro and a
sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either justice or right." (Magna fine of not less than six hundred and twenty-five and not more than six
Charta, 9 Hen., 111, 1225, Cap. 29; 1 eng. stat. at Large, 7.) No official, no matter thousand two hundred and fifty pesetas. (Art. 211.)
how high, is above the law. The courts are the forum which functionate to safeguard
We entertain no doubt but that, if, after due investigation, the proper prosecuting first instance. But this is not a hard and fast rule. The writ of habeas corpus may be
officers find that any public officer has violated this provision of law, these granted by the Supreme Court or any judge thereof enforcible anywhere in the
prosecutors will institute and press a criminal prosecution just as vigorously as they Philippine Islands. (Code of Criminal Procedure, sec. 79; Code of Civil Procedure,
have defended the same official in this action. Nevertheless, that the act may be a sec. 526.) Whether the writ shall be made returnable before the Supreme Court or
crime and that the persons guilty thereof can be proceeded against, is no bar to the before an inferior court rests in the discretion of the Supreme Court and is dependent
instant proceedings. To quote the words of Judge Cooley in a case which will later be on the particular circumstances. In this instance it was not shown that the Court of
referred to — "It would be a monstrous anomaly in the law if to an application by one First Instance of Davao was in session, or that the women had any means by which to
unlawfully confined, ta be restored to his liberty, it could be a sufficient answer that advance their plea before that court. On the other hand, it was shown that the
the confinement was a crime, and therefore might be continued indefinitely until the petitioners with their attorneys, and the two original respondents with their attorney,
guilty party was tried and punished therefor by the slow process of criminal were in Manila; it was shown that the case involved parties situated in different parts
procedure." (In the matter of Jackson [1867], 15 Mich., 416, 434.) The writ of habeas of the Islands; it was shown that the women might still be imprisoned or restrained of
corpus was devised and exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons their liberty; and it was shown that if the writ was to accomplish its purpose, it must
from unlawful restraint, and as the best and only sufficient defense of personal be taken cognizance of and decided immediately by the appellate court. The failure of
freedom. Any further rights of the parties are left untouched by decision on the writ, the superior court to consider the application and then to grant the writ would have
whose principal purpose is to set the individual at liberty. amounted to a denial of the benefits of the writ.

Granted that habeas corpus is the proper remedy, respondents have raised three The last argument of the fiscal is more plausible and more difficult to meet. When the
specific objections to its issuance in this instance. The fiscal has argued (l) that there writ was prayed for, says counsel, the parties in whose behalf it was asked were under
is a defect in parties petitioners, (2) that the Supreme Court should not a assume no restraint; the women, it is claimed, were free in Davao, and the jurisdiction of the
jurisdiction, and (3) that the person in question are not restrained of their liberty by mayor and the chief of police did not extend beyond the city limits. At first blush, this
respondents. It was finally suggested that the jurisdiction of the Mayor and the chief is a tenable position. On closer examination, acceptance of such dictum is found to be
of police of the city of Manila only extends to the city limits and that perforce they perversive of the first principles of the writ of habeas corpus.
could not bring the women from Davao.
A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas corpus is restraint of
The first defense was not presented with any vigor by counsel. The petitioners were liberty. The essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire
relatives and friends of the deportees. The way the expulsion was conducted by the into all manner of involuntary restraint as distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve
city officials made it impossible for the women to sign a petition for habeas corpus. It a person therefrom if such restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will preclude
was consequently proper for the writ to be submitted by persons in their behalf. (Code freedom of action is sufficient. The forcible taking of these women from Manila by
of Criminal Procedure, sec. 78; Code of Civil Procedure, sec. 527.) The law, in its officials of that city, who handed them over to other parties, who deposited them in a
zealous regard for personal liberty, even makes it the duty of a court or judge to grant distant region, deprived these women of freedom of locomotion just as effectively as
a writ of habeas corpus if there is evidence that within the court's jurisdiction a if they had been imprisoned. Placed in Davao without either money or personal
person is unjustly imprisoned or restrained of his liberty, though no application be belongings, they were prevented from exercising the liberty of going when and where
made therefor. (Code of Criminal Procedure, sec. 93.) Petitioners had standing in they pleased. The restraint of liberty which began in Manila continued until the
court. aggrieved parties were returned to Manila and released or until they freely and truly
waived his right.
The fiscal next contended that the writ should have been asked for in the Court of
First Instance of Davao or should have been made returnable before that court. It is a Consider for a moment what an agreement with such a defense would mean. The
general rule of good practice that, to avoid unnecessary expense and inconvenience, chief executive of any municipality in the Philippines could forcibly and illegally take
petitions for habeas corpus should be presented to the nearest judge of the court of a private citizen and place him beyond the boundaries of the municipality, and then,
when called upon to defend his official action, could calmly fold his hands and claim blood shed for its establishment; after its many confirmations, until Coke
that the person was under no restraint and that he, the official, had no jurisdiction could declare in his speech on the petition of right that "Magna Charta was
over this other municipality. We believe the true principle should be that, if the such a fellow that he will have no sovereign," and after the extension of its
respondent is within the jurisdiction of the court and has it in his power to obey the benefits and securities by the petition of right, bill of rights and habeas corpus
order of the court and thus to undo the wrong that he has inflicted, he should be acts, it should now be discovered that evasion of that great clause for the
compelled to do so. Even if the party to whom the writ is addressed has illegally protection of personal liberty, which is the life and soul of the whole
parted with the custody of a person before the application for the writ is no reason instrument, is so easy as is claimed here. If it is so, it is important that it be
why the writ should not issue. If the mayor and the chief of police, acting under no determined without delay, that the legislature may apply the proper remedy, as
authority of law, could deport these women from the city of Manila to Davao, the I can not doubt they would, on the subject being brought to their notice. . . .
same officials must necessarily have the same means to return them from Davao to
Manila. The respondents, within the reach of process, may not be permitted to restrain The second proposition — that the statutory provisions are confined to the
a fellow citizen of her liberty by forcing her to change her domicile and to avow the case of imprisonment within the state — seems to me to be based upon a
act with impunity in the courts, while the person who has lost her birthright of liberty misconception as to the source of our jurisdiction. It was never the case in
has no effective recourse. The great writ of liberty may not thus be easily evaded. England that the court of king's bench derived its jurisdiction to issue and
enforce this writ from the statute. Statutes were not passed to give the right,
It must be that some such question has heretofore been presented to the courts for but to compel the observance of rights which existed. . . .
decision. Nevertheless, strange as it may seem, a close examination of the authorities
fails to reveal any analogous case. Certain decisions of respectable courts are The important fact to be observed in regard to the mode of procedure upon
however very persuasive in nature. this writ is, that it is directed to and served upon, not the person confined, but
his jailor. It does not reach the former except through the latter. The officer or
A question came before the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan at an early date person who serves it does not unbar the prison doors, and set the prisoner free,
as to whether or not a writ of habeas corpus would issue from the Supreme Court to a but the court relieves him by compelling the oppressor to release his
person within the jurisdiction of the State to bring into the State a minor child under constraint. The whole force of the writ is spent upon the respondent, and if he
guardianship in the State, who has been and continues to be detained in another State. fails to obey it, the means to be resorted to for the purposes of compulsion are
The membership of the Michigan Supreme Court at this time was notable. It was fine and imprisonment. This is the ordinary mode of affording relief, and if
composed of Martin, chief justice, and Cooley, Campbell, and Christiancy, justices. any other means are resorted to, they are only auxiliary to those which are
On the question presented the court was equally divided. Campbell, J., with whom usual. The place of confinement is, therefore, not important to the relief, if the
concurred Martin, C. J., held that the writ should be quashed. Cooley, J., one of the guilty party is within reach of process, so that by the power of the court he
most distinguished American judges and law-writers, with whom concurred can be compelled to release his grasp. The difficulty of affording redress is
Christiancy, J., held that the writ should issue. Since the opinion of Justice Campbell not increased by the confinement being beyond the limits of the state, except
was predicated to a large extent on his conception of the English decisions, and since, as greater distance may affect it. The important question is, where the power
as will hereafter appear, the English courts have taken a contrary view, only the of control exercised? And I am aware of no other remedy. (In the matter of
following eloquent passages from the opinion of Justice Cooley are quoted: Jackson [1867], 15 Mich., 416.)

I have not yet seen sufficient reason to doubt the power of this court to issue The opinion of Judge Cooley has since been accepted as authoritative by other courts.
the present writ on the petition which was laid before us. . . . (Rivers vs. Mitchell [1881], 57 Iowa, 193; Breene vs. People [1911], Colo., 117 Pac.
Rep., 1000; Ex parte Young [1892], 50 Fed., 526.)
It would be strange indeed if, at this late day, after the eulogiums of six
centuries and a half have been expended upon the Magna Charta, and rivers of
The English courts have given careful consideration to the subject. Thus, a child had court held the return to be evasive and insufficient, and that Davis was bound to
been taken out of English by the respondent. A writ of habeas corpus was issued by produce the negroes, and Davis being present in court, and refusing to produce them,
the Queen's Bench Division upon the application of the mother and her husband ordered that he be committed to the custody of the marshall until he should produce
directing the defendant to produce the child. The judge at chambers gave defendant the negroes, or be otherwise discharged in due course of law. The court afterwards
until a certain date to produce the child, but he did not do so. His return stated that the ordered that Davis be released upon the production of two of the negroes, for one of
child before the issuance of the writ had been handed over by him to another; that it the negroes had run away and been lodged in jail in Maryland. Davis produced the
was no longer in his custody or control, and that it was impossible for him to obey the two negroes on the last day of the term. (United States vs. Davis [1839], 5 Cranch
writ. He was found in contempt of court. On appeal, the court, through Lord Esher, C.C., 622, Fed. Cas. No. 14926. See also Robb vs. Connolly [1883], 111 U.S., 624;
M. R., said: Church on Habeas, 2nd ed., p. 170.)

A writ of habeas corpus was ordered to issue, and was issued on January 22. We find, therefore, both on reason and authority, that no one of the defense offered by
That writ commanded the defendant to have the body of the child before a the respondents constituted a legitimate bar to the granting of the writ of habeas
judge in chambers at the Royal Courts of Justice immediately after the receipt corpus.
of the writ, together with the cause of her being taken and detained. That is a
command to bring the child before the judge and must be obeyed, unless some There remains to be considered whether the respondent complied with the two orders
lawful reason can be shown to excuse the nonproduction of the child. If it of the Supreme Court awarding the writ of habeas corpus, and if it be found that they
could be shown that by reason of his having lawfully parted with the did not, whether the contempt should be punished or be taken as purged.
possession of the child before the issuing of the writ, the defendant had no
longer power to produce the child, that might be an answer; but in the The first order, it will be recalled, directed Justo Lukban, Anton Hohmann, Francisco
absence of any lawful reason he is bound to produce the child, and, if he does Sales, and Feliciano Yñigo to present the persons named in the writ before the court
not, he is in contempt of the Court for not obeying the writ without lawful on December 2, 1918. The order was dated November 4, 1918. The respondents were
excuse. Many efforts have been made in argument to shift the question of thus given ample time, practically one month, to comply with the writ. As far as the
contempt to some anterior period for the purpose of showing that what was record discloses, the Mayor of the city of Manila waited until the 21st of November
done at some time prior to the writ cannot be a contempt. But the question is before sending a telegram to the provincial governor of Davao. According to the
not as to what was done before the issue of the writ. The question is whether response of the attorney for the Bureau of Labor to the telegram of his chief, there
there has been a contempt in disobeying the writ it was issued by not were then in Davao women who desired to return to Manila, but who should not be
producing the child in obedience to its commands. (The Queen vs. Bernardo permitted to do so because of having contracted debts. The half-hearted effort
[1889], 23 Q. B. D., 305. See also to the same effect the Irish case of In re naturally resulted in none of the parties in question being brought before the court on
Matthews, 12 Ir. Com. Law Rep. [N. S.], 233; The Queen vs. Barnardo, the day named.
Gossage's Case [1890], 24 Q. B. D., 283.)
For the respondents to have fulfilled the court's order, three optional courses were
A decision coming from the Federal Courts is also of interest. A habeas corpus was open: (1) They could have produced the bodies of the persons according to the
directed to the defendant to have before the circuit court of the District of Columbia command of the writ; or (2) they could have shown by affidavit that on account of
three colored persons, with the cause of their detention. Davis, in his return to the sickness or infirmity those persons could not safely be brought before the court; or (3)
writ, stated on oath that he had purchased the negroes as slaves in the city of they could have presented affidavits to show that the parties in question or their
Washington; that, as he believed, they were removed beyond the District of Columbia attorney waived the right to be present. (Code of Criminal Procedure, sec. 87.) They
before the service of the writ of habeas corpus, and that they were then beyond his did not produce the bodies of the persons in whose behalf the writ was granted; they
control and out of his custody. The evidence tended to show that Davis had removed did not show impossibility of performance; and they did not present writings that
the negroes because he suspected they would apply for a writ of habeas corpus. The waived the right to be present by those interested. Instead a few stereotyped affidavits
purporting to show that the women were contended with their life in Davao, some of Since the writ has already been granted, and since we find a substantial compliance
which have since been repudiated by the signers, were appended to the return. That with it, nothing further in this connection remains to be done.
through ordinary diligence a considerable number of the women, at least sixty, could
have been brought back to Manila is demonstrated to be found in the municipality of The attorney for the petitioners asks that we find in contempt of court Justo Lukban,
Davao, and that about this number either returned at their own expense or were Mayor of the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila,
produced at the second hearing by the respondents. Jose Rodriguez, and Fernando Ordax, members of the police force of the city of
Manila, Modesto Joaquin, the attorney for the Bureau of Labor, Feliciano Yñigo, an
The court, at the time the return to its first order was made, would have been hacendero of Davao, and Anacleto Diaz, Fiscal of the city of Manila.
warranted summarily in finding the respondents guilty of contempt of court, and in
sending them to jail until they obeyed the order. Their excuses for the non-production The power to punish for contempt of court should be exercised on the preservative
of the persons were far from sufficient. The, authorities cited herein pertaining to and not on the vindictive principle. Only occasionally should the court invoke its
somewhat similar facts all tend to indicate with what exactitude a habeas corpus writ inherent power in order to retain that respect without which the administration of
must be fulfilled. For example, in Gossage's case, supra, the Magistrate in referring to justice must falter or fail. Nevertheless when one is commanded to produce a certain
an earlier decision of the Court, said: "We thought that, having brought about that person and does not do so, and does not offer a valid excuse, a court must, to
state of things by his own illegal act, he must take the consequences; and we said that vindicate its authority, adjudge the respondent to be guilty of contempt, and must
he was bound to use every effort to get the child back; that he must do much more order him either imprisoned or fined. An officer's failure to produce the body of a
than write letters for the purpose; that he must advertise in America, and even if person in obedience to a writ of habeas corpus when he has power to do so, is a
necessary himself go after the child, and do everything that mortal man could do in contempt committed in the face of the court. (Ex parte Sterns [1888], 77 Cal., 156; In
the matter; and that the court would only accept clear proof of an absolute re Patterson [1888], 99 N. C., 407.)
impossibility by way of excuse." In other words, the return did not show that every
possible effort to produce the women was made by the respondents. That the court With all the facts and circumstances in mind, and with judicial regard for human
forebore at this time to take drastic action was because it did not wish to see presented imperfections, we cannot say that any of the respondents, with the possible exception
to the public gaze the spectacle of a clash between executive officials and the of the first named, has flatly disobeyed the court by acting in opposition to its
judiciary, and because it desired to give the respondents another chance to authority. Respondents Hohmann, Rodriguez, Ordax, and Joaquin only followed the
demonstrate their good faith and to mitigate their wrong. orders of their chiefs, and while, under the law of public officers, this does not
exonerate them entirely, it is nevertheless a powerful mitigating circumstance. The
In response to the second order of the court, the respondents appear to have become hacendero Yñigo appears to have been drawn into the case through a misconstruction
more zealous and to have shown a better spirit. Agents were dispatched to Mindanao, by counsel of telegraphic communications. The city fiscal, Anacleto Diaz, would
placards were posted, the constabulary and the municipal police joined in rounding up seem to have done no more than to fulfill his duty as the legal representative of the
the women, and a steamer with free transportation to Manila was provided. While city government. Finding him innocent of any disrespect to the court, his counter-
charges and counter-charges in such a bitterly contested case are to be expected, and motion to strike from the record the memorandum of attorney for the petitioners,
while a critical reading of the record might reveal a failure of literal fulfillment with which brings him into this undesirable position, must be granted. When all is said and
our mandate, we come to conclude that there is a substantial compliance with it. Our done, as far as this record discloses, the official who was primarily responsible for the
finding to this effect may be influenced somewhat by our sincere desire to see this unlawful deportation, who ordered the police to accomplish the same, who made
unhappy incident finally closed. If any wrong is now being perpetrated in Davao, it arrangements for the steamers and the constabulary, who conducted the negotiations
should receive an executive investigation. If any particular individual is still with the Bureau of Labor, and who later, as the head of the city government, had it
restrained of her liberty, it can be made the object of separate habeas corpus within his power to facilitate the return of the unfortunate women to Manila, was
proceedings. Justo Lukban, the Mayor of the city of Manila. His intention to suppress the social
evil was commendable. His methods were unlawful. His regard for the writ of habeas
corpus issued by the court was only tardily and reluctantly acknowledged.

It would be possible to turn to the provisions of section 546 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, which relates to the penalty for disobeying the writ, and in pursuance
thereof to require respondent Lukban to forfeit to the parties aggrieved as much as
P400 each, which would reach to many thousands of pesos, and in addition to deal
with him as for a contempt. Some members of the court are inclined to this stern
view. It would also be possible to find that since respondent Lukban did comply
substantially with the second order of the court, he has purged his contempt of the
first order. Some members of the court are inclined to this merciful view. Between the
two extremes appears to lie the correct finding. The failure of respondent Lukban to
obey the first mandate of the court tended to belittle and embarrass the administration
of justice to such an extent that his later activity may be considered only as
extenuating his conduct. A nominal fine will at once command such respect without
being unduly oppressive — such an amount is P100.

In resume — as before stated, no further action on the writ of habeas corpus is


necessary. The respondents Hohmann, Rodriguez, Ordax, Joaquin, Yñigo, and Diaz
are found not to be in contempt of court. Respondent Lukban is found in contempt of
court and shall pay into the office of the clerk of the Supreme Court within five days
the sum of one hundred pesos (P100). The motion of the fiscal of the city of Manila to
strike from the record the Replica al Memorandum de los Recurridos of January 25,
1919, is granted. Costs shall be taxed against respondents. So ordered.
Petitioner-Organizations, namely: G.R. Nos. 147036-37 REFORM, PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON
PAMBANSANG KOALISYON NG MGA GOOD GOVERNMENT, THE SOLICITOR
SAMAHANG MAGSASAKA AT MANGGAGAWA GENERAL, PHILIPPINE COCONUT PRODUCERS
SA NIYUGAN (PKSMMN), COCONUT INDUSTRY FEDERATION, INC. (COCOFED), and UNITED
REFORM MOVEMENT (COIR), BUKLOD NG COCONUT PLANTERS BANK (UCPB),
MALAYANG MAGBUBUKID, PAMBANSANG Respondents.
KILUSAN NG MGA SAMAHANG MAGSASAKA x ------------------------------------------------------ x
(PAKISAMA), CENTER FOR AGRARIAN REFORM,
EMPOWERMENT AND TRANSFORMATION TEODORO J. AMOR, representing the Peasant G.R. No. 147811
(CARET), PAMBANSANG KATIPUNAN NG MGA Alliance of Samar and Leyte (PASALEY),
SAMAHAN SA KANAYUNAN (PKSK); Petitioner- DOMINGO C. ENCALLADO, representing
Legislator: REPRESENTATIVE LORETA ANN Aniban ng Magsasaka at Manggagawa sa Niyugan
ROSALES; and Petitioner-Individuals, namely: (AMMANI), and VIDAL M. PILIIN, representing
VIRGILIO V. DAVID, JOSE MARIE FAUSTINO, the Laguna Coalition,
JOSE CONCEPCION, ROMEO ROYANDOYAN, Petitioners,
JOSE V. ROMERO, JR., ATTY. CAMILO L.
SABIO, and ATTY. ANTONIO T. CARPIO, - versus -
Petitioners, Present:
CORONA, C.J., EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, SECRETARY OF
CARPIO, AGRICULTURE, SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN
VELASCO, JR., REFORM, PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, GOOD GOVERNMENT, THE SOLICITOR
BRION, GENERAL, PHILIPPINE COCONUT
- versus - PERALTA, PRODUCERS FEDERATION, UNITED Promulgated:
BERSAMIN, COCONUT PLANTERS BANK,
DEL CASTILLO, Respondents. April 10, 2012
ABAD,
VILLARAMA, JR., x ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x
PEREZ,
MENDOZA, DECISION
SERENO,
REYES, and
PERLAS- ABAD, J.:
BERNABE, JJ.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, SECRETARY OF
AGRICULTURE, SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN
These are consolidated petitions to declare unconstitutional certain Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) was to provide P100 million as initial
presidential decrees and executive orders of the martial law era relating to capital of the CID Fund and, thereafter, give the Fund at least P0.20 per
the raising and use of coco-levy funds. kilogram of copra resecada out of the PCAs collection of coconut
consumers stabilization levy. In case of the lifting of this levy, the PCA
The Facts and the Case was then to impose a permanent levy of P0.20 on the first sale of every
kilogram of copra to form part of the CID Fund.[9] Also, under P.D. 582,
On June 19, 1971 Congress enacted Republic Act (R.A.) 6260[1] that the Philippine National Bank (PNB), then owned by the Government, was
established a Coconut Investment Fund (CI Fund) for the development of to receive on deposit, administer, and use the CID Fund.[10] P.D. 582
the coconut industry through capital financing.[2] Coconut farmers were to authorized the PNB to invest the unused portion of the CID Fund in easily
capitalize and administer the Fund through the Coconut Investment convertible investments, the earnings of which were to form part of the
Company (CIC)[3] whose objective was, among others, to advance the Fund.[11]
coconut farmers interests. For this purpose, the law imposed a levy In 1975 President Marcos enacted P.D. 755[12] which approved the
of P0.55 on the coconut farmers first domestic sale of every 100 kilograms acquisition of a commercial bank for the benefit of the coconut farmers to
of copra, or its equivalent, for which levy he was to get a receipt enable such bank to promptly and efficiently realize the industrys credit
convertible into CIC shares of stock.[4] policy.[13] Thus, the PCA bought 72.2% of the shares of stock of First
United Bank, headed by Pedro Cojuangco.[14] Due to changes in its
About a year following his proclamation of martial law in the country or corporate identity and purpose, the banks articles of incorporation were
on August 20, 1973 President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential amended in July 1975, resulting in a change in the banks name from First
Decree (P.D.) 276,[5] which established a Coconut Consumers United Bank to United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB).[15]
Stabilization Fund (CCS Fund), to address the crisis at that time in the
domestic market for coconut-based consumer goods. The CCS Fund was On July 14, 1976 President Marcos enacted P.D. 961,[16] the Coconut
to be built up through the imposition of a P15.00-levy for every first sale Industry Code, which consolidated and codified existing laws relating to
of 100 kilograms of copra resecada.[6] The levy was to cease after a year the coconut industry. The Code provided that surpluses from the CCS
or earlier provided the crisis was over. Any remaining balance of the Fund Fund and the CID Fund collections, not used for replanting and other
was to revert to the CI Fund established under R.A. 6260.[7] authorized purposes, were to be invested by acquiring shares of stock of
corporations, including the San Miguel Corporation (SMC), engaged in
A year later or on November 14, 1974 President Marcos issued P.D. undertakings related to the coconut and palm oil industries.[17] UCPB was
582,[8] creating a permanent fund called the Coconut Industry to make such investments and equitably distribute these for free to coconut
Development Fund (CID Fund) to channel for the ultimate direct benefit farmers.[18] These investments constituted the Coconut Industry
of coconut farmers part of the levies that they were already paying. The Investment Fund (CIIF). P.D. 961 also provided that the coconut levy
funds (coco-levy funds) shall be owned by the coconut farmers in their of the outstanding capital stock of SMC. E.O. 313 designated UCPB,
private capacities.[19] This was reiterated in the PD 1468[20] amendment of through its Trust Department, as the Trust Funds trustee bank. The Trust
June 11, 1978. Fund Committee would administer, manage, and supervise the operations
of the Trust Fund.[33] The Committee would designate an external auditor
In 1980, President Marcos issued P.D. 1699,[21] suspending the collections to do an annual audit or as often as needed but it may also request the
of the CCS Fund and the CID Fund. But in 1981 he issued P.D. Commission on Audit (COA) to intervene.[34]
1841[22] which revived the collection of coconut levies. P.D. 1841 renamed To implement its mandate, E.O. 313 directed the Presidential Commission
the CCS Fund into the Coconut Industry Stabilization Fund (CIS on Good Government, the Office of the Solicitor General, and other
Fund).[23] This Fund was to be earmarked proportionately among several government agencies to exclude the 27% CIIF SMC shares from Civil
development programs, such as coconut hybrid replanting program, Case 0033, entitled Republic of the Philippines v. Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr.,
insurance coverage for the coconut farmers, and scholarship program for et al., which was then pending before the Sandiganbayan and to lift the
their children.[24] sequestration over those shares.[35]

In November 2000 then President Joseph Estrada issued Executive Order On January 26, 2001, however, former President Gloria Macapagal-
(E.O.) 312,[25] establishing a Sagip Niyugan Program which sought to Arroyo ordered the suspension of E.O.s 312 and 313.[36] This
provide immediate income supplement to coconut farmers and encourage notwithstanding, on March 1, 2001 petitioner organizations and
the creation of a sustainable local market demand for coconut oil and other individuals brought the present action in G.R. 147036-37 to declare E.O.s
coconut products.[26] The Executive Order sought to establish a P1-billion 312 and 313 as well as Article III, Section 5 of P.D. 1468
fund by disposing of assets acquired using coco-levy funds or assets of unconstitutional. On April 24, 2001 the other sets of petitioner
entities supported by those funds.[27] A committee was created to manage organizations and individuals instituted G.R. 147811 to nullify Section 2
the fund under this program.[28] A majority vote of its members could of P.D. 755 and Article III, Section 5 of P.D.s 961 and 1468 also for being
engage the services of a reputable auditing firm to conduct periodic unconstitutional.
audits.[29]
The Issues Presented
[30]
At about the same time, President Estrada issued E.O. 313, which
created an irrevocable trust fund known as the Coconut Trust Fund (the The parties submit the following issues for adjudication:
Trust Fund). This aimed to providefinancial assistance to coconut farmers,
to the coconut industry, and to other agri-related programs.[31] The shares Procedurally
of stock of SMC were to serve as the Trust Funds initial capital.[32] These
shares were acquired with CII Funds and constituted approximately 27%
1. Whether or not petitioners special civil actions of certiorari under Second. The Court has to uphold petitioners right to institute these
Rule 65 constituted the proper remedy for their actions; and petitions. The petitioner organizations in these cases represent coconut
2. Whether or not petitioners have legal standing to bring the same farmers on whom the burden of the coco-levies attaches. It is also primarily
to court.
for their benefit that the levies were imposed.
On the substance
The individual petitioners, on the other hand, join the petitions as
3. Whether or not the coco-levy funds are public funds; and taxpayers. The Court recognizes their right to restrain officials from
wasting public funds through the enforcement of an unconstitutional
4. Whether or not (a) Section 2 of P.D. 755, (b) Article III, Section statute.[41] This so-called taxpayers suit is based on the theory that
5 of P.D.s 961 and 1468, (c) E.O. 312, and (d) E.O. 313 are expenditure of public funds for the purpose of executing an
unconstitutional. unconstitutional act is a misapplication of such funds.[42]

The Rulings of the Court Besides, the 1987 Constitution accords to the citizens a greater
participation in the affairs of government. Indeed, it provides for people's
First. UCPB questions the propriety of the present petitions initiative, the right to information on matters of public concern (including
for certiorari and mandamus under Rule 65 on the ground that there are no the right to know the state of health of their President), as well as the right
ongoing proceedings in any tribunal or board or before a government to file cases questioning the factual bases for the suspension of the
official exercising judicial, quasi-judicial, or ministerial privilege of writ of habeas corpus or declaration of martial law. These
functions.[37] UCPB insists that the Court exercises appellate jurisdiction provisions enlarge the peoples right in the political as well as the judicial
with respect to issues of constitutionality or validity of laws and field. It grants them the right to interfere in the affairs of government and
presidential orders.[38] challenge any act tending to prejudice their interest.

But, as the Court previously held, where there are serious allegations Third. For some time, different and conflicting notions had been
that a law has infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the right but formed as to the nature and ownership of the coco-levy funds. The Court,
the duty of the Court to look into such allegations and, when however, finally put an end to the dispute when it categorically ruled
warranted, uphold the supremacy of the Constitution.[39] Moreover, in Republic of the Philippines v. COCOFED[43] that these funds are not
where the issues raised are of paramount importance to the public, as in only affected with public interest; they are, in fact, prima facie public
this case, the Court has the discretion to brush aside technicalities of funds. Prima facie means a fact presumed to be true unless disproved by
procedure.[40] some evidence to the contrary.[44]
The Court was satisfied that the coco-levy funds were raised Respondent UCPB suggests that the coco-levy funds are closely
pursuant to law to support a proper governmental purpose. They were similar to the Social Security System (SSS) funds, which have been
raised with the use of the police and taxing powers of the State for the declared to be not public funds but properties of the SSS members and held
benefit of the coconut industry and its farmers in general. The COA merely in trust by the government.[55] But the SSS Law[56] collects
reviewed the use of the funds. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) premium contributions. It does not collect taxes from members for a
treated them as public funds and the very laws governing coconut levies specific public purpose. They pay contributions in exchange for insurance
recognize their public character.[45] protection and benefits like loans, medical or health services, and
retirement packages. The benefits accrue to every SSS member, not to the
The Court has also recently declared that the coco-levy funds are in public, in general.[57]
the nature of taxes and can only be used for public purpose.[46] Taxes are
enforced proportional contributions from persons and property, levied by Furthermore, SSS members do not lose ownership of their
the State by virtue of its sovereignty for the support of the government and contributions. The government merely holds these in trust, together with
for all its public needs.[47] Here, the coco-levy funds were imposed his employers contribution, to answer for his future benefits.[58] The coco-
pursuant to law, namely, R.A. 6260 and P.D. 276. The funds were levy funds, on the other hand, belong to the government and are subject to
collected and managed by the PCA, an independent government its administration and disposition. Thus, these funds, including its
corporation directly under the President.[48] And, as the respondent public incomes, interests, proceeds, or profits, as well as all its assets, properties,
officials pointed out, the pertinent laws used the term levy,[49] which and shares of stocks procured with such funds must be treated, used,
means to tax,[50] in describing the exaction. administered, and managed as public funds.[59]

Of course, unlike ordinary revenue laws, R.A. 6260 and P.D. 276 Lastly, the coco-levy funds are evidently special funds. In Gaston v.
did not raise money to boost the governments general funds but to provide Republic Planters Bank,[60] the Court held that the State collected
means for the rehabilitation and stabilization of a threatened industry, the stabilization fees from sugar millers, planters, and producers for a special
coconut industry, which is so affected with public interest as to be within purpose: to finance the growth and development of the sugar industry and
the police power of the State.[51] The funds sought to support the coconut all its components. The fees were levied for a special purpose and,
industry, one of the main economic backbones of the country, and to therefore, constituted special fund when collected. Its character as such
secure economic benefits for the coconut farmers and farm workers. The fund was made clear by the fact that they were deposited in the PNB (then
subject laws are akin to the sugar liens imposed by Sec. 7(b) of P.D. a wholly owned government bank) and not in the Philippine
388,[52] and the oil price stabilization funds under P.D. 1956,[53] as Treasury. In Osmea v. Orbos,[61] the Court held that the oil price
amended by E.O. 137.[54] stabilization fund was a special fund mainly because this was segregated
from the general fund and placed in what the law referred to as a trust
account. Yet it remained subject to COA scrutiny and review. The Court
finds no substantial distinction between these funds and the coco-levy Identical provisions of subsequent presidential decrees likewise
funds, except as to the industry they each support. declared coco-levy funds private properties of coconut farmers. Article III,
Section 5 of P.D. 961 reads:
Fourth. Petitioners in G.R. 147811 assert that Section 2 of P.D. 755
above is void and unconstitutional for disregarding the public character of Section 5. Exemptions. The Coconut Consumers
coco-levy funds. The subject section provides: Stabilization Fund and the Coconut Industry Development Fund
as well as all disbursements of said funds for the benefit of the
coconut farmers as herein authorized shall not be construed or
Section 2. Financial Assistance. x x x and since the
interpreted, under any law or regulation, as special and/or
operations, and activities of the Philippine Coconut Authority
fiduciary funds, or as part of the general funds of the
are all in accord with the present social economic plans and
national government within the contemplation of P.D. No.
programs of the Government, all collections and levies which
711; nor as a subsidy, donation, levy, government funded
the Philippine Coconut Authority is authorized to levy and
investment, or government share within the contemplation
collect such as but not limited to the Coconut Consumers
of P.D. 898, the intention being that said Fund and the
Stabilization Levy, and the Coconut Industry Development
disbursements thereof as herein authorized for the benefit
Fund as prescribed by Presidential Decree No. 582 shall not be
of the coconut farmers shall be owned by them in their own
considered or construed, under any law or regulation,
private capacities. (Emphasis ours)
special and/or fiduciary funds and do not form part of the
general funds of the national government within the
contemplation of Presidential Decree No. 711. (Emphasis ours) Section 5 of P.D. 1468 basically reproduces the above provision,
thus
The Court has, however, already passed upon this question
in Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc. (COCOFED) v. Section 5. Exemption. The Coconut Consumers
Stabilization Fund and the Coconut Industry Development
Republic of the Philippines.[62] It held as unconstitutional Section 2 of P.D.
Fund, as well as all disbursements as herein authorized, shall
755 for effectively authorizing the PCA to utilize portions of the CCS not be construed or interpreted, under any law or
Fund to pay the financial commitment of the farmers to acquire UCPB and regulation, as special and/or fiduciary funds, or as part of
to deposit portions of the CCS Fund levies with UCPB interest free. And the general funds of the national government within the
as there also provided, the CCS Fund, CID Fund and like levies that PCA contemplation of P.D. 711; nor as subsidy, donation, levy
is authorized to collect shall be considered as non-special or fiduciary government funded investment, or government share within
funds to be transferred to the general fund of the Government, meaning the contemplation of P.D. 898, the intention being that said
Fund and the disbursements thereof as herein authorized
they shall be deemed private funds. for the benefit of the coconut farmers shall be owned by
them in their private capacities: Provided, however, That the Section 2 of P.D. 755, Article III, Section 5 of P.D. 961, and Article
President may at any time authorize the Commission on Audit III, Section 5 of P.D. 1468 completely ignore the fact that coco-levy funds
or any other officer of the government to audit the business
are public funds raised through taxation. And since taxes could be exacted
affairs, administration, and condition of persons and entities
who receive subsidy for coconut-based consumer products x x only for a public purpose, they cannot be declared private properties of
x. (Emphasis ours) individuals although such individuals fall within a distinct group of
persons.[65]
Notably, the raising of money by levy on coconut farm production,
a form of taxation as already stated, began in 1971 for the purpose of The Court of course grants that there is no hard-and-fast rule for
developing the coconut industry and promoting the interest of coconut determining what constitutes public purpose. It is an elastic concept that
farmers. The use of the fund was expanded in 1973 to include the could be made to fit into modern standards. Public purpose, for instance,
stabilization of the domestic market for coconut-based consumer goods is no longer restricted to traditional government functions like building
and in 1974 to divert part of the funds for obtaining direct benefit to roads and school houses or safeguarding public health and safety.Public
coconut farmers. After five years or in 1976, however, P.D. 961 declared purpose has been construed as including the promotion of social
the coco-levy funds private property of the farmers. P.D. 1468 reiterated justice. Thus, public funds may be used for relocating illegal settlers,
this declaration in 1978. But neither presidential decree actually turned building low-cost housing for them, and financing both urban and agrarian
over possession or control of the funds to the farmers in their private reforms that benefit certain poor individuals. Still, these uses relieve
capacity. The government continued to wield undiminished authority over volatile iniquities in society and, therefore, impact on public order and
the management and disposition of those funds. welfare as a whole.

In any event, such declaration is void. There is ownership when a But the assailed provisions, which removed the coco-levy funds
thing pertaining to a person is completely subjected to his will in from the general funds of the government and declared them private
everything that is not prohibited by law or the concurrence with the rights properties of coconut farmers, do not appear to have a color of social
of another.[63] An owner is free to exercise all attributes of ownership: the justice for their purpose. The levy on copra that farmers produce appears,
right, among others, to possess, use and enjoy, abuse or consume, and in the first place, to be a business tax judging by its tax base. The concept
dispose or alienate the thing owned.[64] The owner is of course free to of farmers-businessmen is incompatible with the idea that coconut farmers
waive all or some of these rights in favor of others. But in the case of the are victims of social injustice and so should be beneficiaries of the taxes
coconut farmers, they could not, individually or collectively, waive what raised from their earnings.
have not been and could not be legally imparted to them.
It would altogether be different of course if the laws mentioned set
apart a portion of the coco-levy fund for improving the lives of destitute
coconut farm owners or workers for their social amelioration to establish
a proper government purpose. The support for the poor is generally Section 13. Accounting. x x x
recognized as a public duty and has long been an accepted exercise of
The Fund shall be audited annually or as often as
police power in the promotion of the common good.[66] But the
necessary by an external auditor designated by the
declarations do not distinguish between wealthy coconut farmers and the Committee. The Committee may also request the Commission
impoverished ones. And even if they did, the Government cannot just on Audit to conduct an audit of the Fund. (Emphasis ours)
embark on a philanthropic orgy of inordinate dole-outs for motives
political or otherwise.[67] Consequently, such declarations are void since But, since coco-levy funds are taxes, the provisions of
they appropriate public funds for private purpose and, therefore, violate the P.D.s 755, 961 and 1468 as well as those of E.O.s 312 and 313 that remove
citizens right to substantive due process.[68] such funds and the assets acquired through them from the jurisdiction of
On another point, in stating that the coco-levy fund shall not be construed the COA violate Article IX-D, Section 2(1)[69] of the 1987
or interpreted, under any law or regulation, as special and/or fiduciary Constitution. Section 2(1) vests in the COA the power and authority to
funds, or as part of the general funds of the national government, P.D.s 961 examine uses of government money and property. The cited P.D.s and
and 1468 seek to remove such fund from COA scrutiny. E.O.s also contravene Section 2[70] of P.D. 898 (Providing for the
Restructuring of the Commission on Audit), which has the force of a
This is also the fault of President Estradas E.O. 312 which deals statute.
with P1 billion to be generated out of the sale of coco-fund acquired
assets. Thus And there is no legitimate reason why such funds should be shielded
from COA review and audit. The PCA, which implements the coco-levy
Section 5. Audit of Fund and Submission of Report. The laws and collects the coco-levy funds, is a government-owned and
Committee, by a majority vote, shall engage the services of a
controlled corporation subject to COA review and audit.
reputable auditing firm to conduct periodic audits of the
fund. It shall render a quarterly report on all pertinent
transactions and availments of the fund to the Office of the E.O. 313 suffers from an additional infirmity. Its title, Rationalizing
President within the first three (3) working days of the the Use of the Coconut Levy Funds by Constituting a Fund for Assistance
succeeding quarter. (Emphasis ours) to Coconut Farmers as an Irrevocable Trust Fund and Creating a Coconut
Trust Fund Committee for the Management thereof tends to
E.O. 313 has a substantially identical provision governing the mislead. Apparently, it intends to create a trust fund out of the coco-levy
management and disposition of the Coconut Trust Fund capitalized with funds to provide economic assistance to the coconut farmers and,
the substantial SMC shares of stock that the coco-fund acquired. Thus ultimately, benefit the coconut industry.[71] But on closer look, E.O. 313
strays from the special purpose for which the law raises coco-levy funds in times of economic hardship due to extremely low prices of
that it permits the use of coco-levy funds for improving productivity in copra and other coconut products, natural calamities, world
market dislocation and similar occurrences, including financial
other food areas. Thus:
support to the ERAPs Sagip Niyugan Program established
under Executive Order No. 312 dated November 3, 2000; x x x.
Section 2. Purpose of the Fund. The Fund shall be (Emphasis ours)
established for the purpose of financing programs of assistance
for the benefit of the coconut farmers, the coconut industry, and
other agri-related programs intended to maximize food Clearly, E.O. 313 above runs counter to the constitutional provision
productivity, develop business opportunities in the which directs that all money collected on any tax levied for a special
countryside, provide livelihood alternatives, and promote purpose shall be treated as a special fund and paid out for such purpose
anti-poverty programs. (Emphasis ours) only.[72] Assisting other agriculturally-related programs is way off the
coco-funds objective of promoting the general interests of the coconut
xxxx
industry and its farmers.
Section 9. Use and Disposition of the Trust Income. The
Coconut Trust Fund Committee, on an annual basis, shall A final point, the E.O.s also transgress P.D. 1445,[73] Section
determine and establish the amount comprising the Trust 84(2),[74] the first part by the previously mentioned sections of E.O. 313
Income. After such determination, the Committee shall and the second part by Section 4 of E.O. 312 and Sections 6 and 7 of E.O.
earmark, allocate and disburse the Trust Income for the 313. E.O. 313 vests the power to administer, manage, and supervise the
following purposes, namely: operations and disbursements of the Trust Fund it established (capitalized
xxxx with SMC shares bought out of coco-levy funds) in a Coconut Trust Fund
Committee. Thus
(d) Thirty percent (30%) of the Trust Income shall be
used to assist and fund agriculturally-related programs for Section 6. Creation of the Coconut Trust Fund
the Government, as reasonably determined by the Trust Fund Committee. A Committee is hereby created to administer,
Committee, implemented for the purpose of: (i) maximizing manage and supervise the operations of the Trust Fund,
food productivity in the agriculture areas of the country, (ii) chaired by the President with ten (10) members, as follows:
enhancing the upliftment and well-being of the living conditions
of farmers and agricultural workers, (iii) developing viable (a) four (4) representatives from the government
industries and business opportunities in the countryside, (iv) sector, two of whom shall be the Secretary of
providing alternative means of livelihood to the direct Agriculture and the Secretary of Agrarian Reform
dependents of agriculture businesses and enterprises, and (v) who shall act as Vice Chairmen;
providing financial assistance and support to coconut farmers in
(b) four (4) representatives from coconut farmers (c) receive, process and approve project proposals for
organizations, one of whom shall come from a list financing by the Trust Fund;
of nominees from the Philippine Coconut (d) decide on the use of the Trust Funds income or net
Producers Federation Inc. (COCOFED); earnings including final action on applications for
(c) a representative from the CIIF; and assistance, grants and/or loans;
(d) a representative from a non-government (e) avail of professional counsel and services by retaining
organization (NGO) involved in agricultural and an investment and financial manager, if desired;
rural development. (f) formulate the rules and regulations governing the
allocation, utilization and disbursement of the Fund;
All decisions of the Coconut Trust Fund Committee shall be and
determined by a majority vote of all the members. (g) perform such other acts and things as may be
necessary proper or conducive to attain the purposes of
The Coconut Trust Fund Committee shall perform the functions the Fund. (Emphasis ours)
and duties set forth in Section 7 hereof, with the skill, care,
prudence and diligence necessary under the circumstances then Section 4 of E.O. 312 does essentially the same thing. It vests the
prevailing that a prudent man acting in like capacity would
management and disposition of the assistance fund generated from the sale
exercise.
of coco-levy fund-acquired assets into a Committee of five
The members of the Coconut Trust Fund Committee shall be members. Thus, Section 4 of E.O. 312 provides
appointed by the President and shall hold office at his pleasure.
Section 4. Funding. Assets acquired through the
The Coconut Trust Fund Committee is authorized to hire coconut levy funds or by entities financed by the coconut levy
administrative, technical and/or support staff as may be required funds identified by the President for appropriate disposal or sale,
to enable it to effectively perform its functions and shall be sold or disposed to generate a maximum fund of ONE
responsibilities. (Emphasis ours) BILLION PESOS (P1,000,000,000.00) which shall
be managed by a Committee composed of a Chairman and
Section 7. Functions and Responsibilities of the four (4) members to be appointed by the President whose
Committee. The Coconut Trust Fund Committee shall have the term shall be co-terminus with the Program. x x x
following functions and responsibilities: (Emphasis ours)
(a) set the investment policy of the Trust Fund;
(b) establish priorities for assistance giving preference to In effect, the above transfers the power to allocate, use, and disburse
small coconut farmers and farmworkers which shall be coco-levy funds that P.D. 232 vested in the PCA and transferred the same,
reviewed periodically and revised as necessary in
accordance with changing conditions; without legislativeauthorization and in violation of P.D. 232, to the
Committees mentioned above. An executive order cannot repeal a
presidential decree which has the same standing as a statute enacted by b) E.O. 313, for being in contravention of Section
Congress. 84(2) of P.D. 1445, and Article IX-D, Section 2(1) and Article
UCPB invokes the principle of separability to save the assailed laws VI, Section 29(3) of the Constitution.
from being struck down. The general rule is that where part of a statute is
void as repugnant to the Constitution, while another part is valid, the valid The Court has previously declared Section 2 of P.D. 755 and Article
portion, if susceptible to being separated from the invalid, may stand and III, Section 5 of P.D.s 961 and 1468 unconstitutional.
be enforced. When the parts of a statute, however, are so mutually
dependent and connected, as conditions, considerations, or compensations SO ORDERED.
for each other, as to warrant a belief that the legislature intended them as a
whole, the nullity of one part will vitiate the rest. In which case, if some
parts are unconstitutional, all the other provisions which are thus
dependent, conditional, or connected must consequently fall with them.[75]

But, given that the provisions of E.O.s 312 and 313, which as
already stated invalidly transferred powers over the funds to two
committees that President Estrada created, the rest of their provisions
became non-operational. It is evident that President Estrada would not
have created the new funding programs if they were to be managed by
some other entity. Indeed, he made himself Chairman of the Coconut Trust
Fund and left to his discretion the appointment of the members of the other
committee.

WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition in G.R. 147036-


37, PARTLY GRANTS the petition in G.R. 147811, and declares the
following VOID:

a) E.O. 312, for being repugnant to Section 84(2) of


P.D. 1445, and Article IX-D, Section 2(1) of the Constitution;
and
[G.R. No. 144463. January 14, 2004] etc.) and such other forms of amusement and recreation including games of
chance, which may be allowed by law within the territorial jurisdiction of
the Philippines and which will: x x x (3) minimize, if not totally eradicate,
SENATOR ROBERT S. JAWORSKI, petitioner, vs. PHILIPPINE the evils, malpractices and corruptions that are normally prevalent in the
AMUSEMENT AND GAMING CORPORATION and conduct and operation of gambling clubs and casinos without direct
government involvement.
SPORTS AND GAMES ENTERTAINMENT
CORPORATION, respondents. xxxxxxxxx
DECISION TITLE IV GRANT OF FRANCHISE
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
Sec.10. Nature and term of franchise. Subject to the terms and conditions
The instant petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of established in this Decree, the Corporation is hereby granted for a period of
the Rules of Court seeks to nullify the Grant of Authority and twenty-five (25) years, renewable for another twenty-five (25) years, the
Agreement for the Operation of Sports Betting and Internet Gaming, rights, privileges and authority to operate and maintain gambling casinos,
executed by respondent Philippine Amusement and Gaming clubs, and other recreation or amusement places, sports, gaming pools, i.e.
Corporation (hereinafter referred to as PAGCOR) in favor of basketball, football, lotteries, etc. whether on land or sea, within the
respondent Sports and Games and Entertainment Corporation (also territorial jurisdiction of the Republic of the Philippines.
referred to as SAGE).
The facts may be summarized as follows: On March 31, 1998, PAGCORs board of directors approved an
instrument denominated as Grant of Authority and Agreement for the
PAGCOR is a government owned and controlled corporation Operation of Sports Betting and Internet Gaming, which granted SAGE
existing under Presidential Decree No. 1869 issued on July 11, 1983 the authority to operate and maintain Sports Betting station in
by then President Ferdinand Marcos. Pertinent provisions of said PAGCORs casino locations, and Internet Gaming facilities to service
enabling law read: local and international bettors, provided that to the satisfaction of
PAGCOR, appropriate safeguards and procedures are established to
SECTION 1. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared to be the policy of ensure the integrity and fairness of the games.
the State to centralize and integrate all games of chance not heretofore
authorized by existing franchises or permitted by law in order to attain the On September 1, 1998, PAGCOR, represented by its Chairperson,
following objectives: Alicia Ll. Reyes, and SAGE, represented by its Chairman of the Board,
Henry Sy, Jr., and its President, Antonio D. Lacdao, executed the
xxxxxxxxx above-named document.
Pursuant to the authority granted by PAGCOR, SAGE commenced
b) To establish and operate clubs and casinos, for amusement and its operations by conducting gambling on the Internet on a trial-run
recreation, including sports, gaming pools (basketball, football, lotteries,
basis, making pre-paid cards and redemption of winnings available at a physical structure in real-space where people who intend to bet or
various Bingo Bonanza outlets. gamble go and play games of chance authorized by law.
Petitioner, in his capacity as member of the Senate and Chairman The issues raised by petitioner are as follows:
of the Senate Committee on Games, Amusement and Sports, files the I. WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT PAGCOR IS AUTHORIZED UNDER
instant petition, praying that the grant of authority by PAGCOR in favor P.D. NO. 1869 TO OPERATE GAMBLING ACTIVITIES ON THE
of SAGE be nullified. He maintains that PAGCOR committed grave INTERNET;
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it II. WHETHER RESPONDENT PAGCOR ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS
authorized SAGE to operate gambling on the internet. He contends OF ITS JURISDICTION, OR GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
that PAGCOR is not authorized under its legislative franchise, P.D. AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION, WHEN IT
1869, to operate gambling on the internet for the simple reason that AUTHORIZED RESPONDENT SAGE TO OPERATE INTERNET
GAMBLING ON THE BASIS OF ITS RIGHT TO OPERATE AND
the said decree could not have possibly contemplated internet MAINTAIN GAMBLING CASINOS, CLUBS AND OTHER AMUSEMENT
gambling since at the time of its enactment on July 11, 1983 the PLACES UNDER SECTION 10 OF P.D. 1869;
internet was yet inexistent and gambling activities were confined III. WHETHER RESPONDENT PAGCOR ACTED WITHOUT OR IN
exclusively to real-space. Further, he argues that the internet, being EXCESS OF ITS JURISDICTION OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
an international network of computers, necessarily transcends the DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION
territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines, and the grant to SAGE of WHEN IT GRANTED AUTHORITY TO SAGE TO OPERATE GAMBLING
authority to operate internet gambling contravenes the limitation in ACTIVITIES IN THE INTERNET.
PAGCORs franchise, under Section 14 of P.D. No. 1869 which The above-mentioned issues may be summarized into a single
provides: pivotal question: Does PAGCORs legislative franchise include the
right to vest another entity, SAGE in this case, with the authority to
Place. The Corporation [i.e., PAGCOR] shall conduct gambling activities or operate Internet gambling? Otherwise put, does Presidential Decree
games of chance on land or water within the territorial jurisdiction of the No. 1869 authorize PAGCOR to contract any part of its franchise to
Republic of the Philippines. x x x SAGE by authorizing the latter to operate Internet gambling?
Moreover, according to petitioner, internet gambling does not fall Before proceeding with our main discussion, let us first try to hurdle
under any of the categories of the authorized gambling activities a number of important procedural matters raised by the respondents.
enumerated under Section 10 of P.D. No. 1869 which grants PAGCOR In their separate Comments, respondents PAGCOR and SAGE
the right, privilege and authority to operate and maintain gambling insist that petitioner has no legal standing to file the instant petition as
casinos, clubs, and other recreation or amusement places, sports a concerned citizen or as a member of the Philippine Senate on the
gaming pools, within the territorial jurisdiction of the Republic of the ground that he is not a real party-in-interest entitled to the avails of the
Philippines. He contends that internet gambling could not have been
[1]
suit. In this light, they argue that petitioner does not have the requisite
included within the commonly accepted definition of gambling casinos, personal and substantial interest to impugn the validity of PAGCORs
clubs or other recreation or amusement places as these terms refer to grant of authority to SAGE.
Objections to the legal standing of a member of the Senate or Constitution. Respondents contended that the Court had no
House of Representative to maintain a suit and assail the jurisdiction to take original cognizance of a petition for injunction
constitutionality or validity of laws, acts, decisions, rulings, or orders of because it was not one of the actions specifically mentioned in Section
various government agencies or instrumentalities are not without 1 of Rule 56 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Respondents
precedent. Ordinarily, before a member of Congress may properly likewise took exception to the alleged failure of petitioners to observe
challenge the validity of an official act of any department of the the doctrine on hierarchy of courts. In brushing aside the apparent
government there must be an unmistakable showing that the procedural lapse, we held that x x x this Court has the discretionary
challenged official act affects or impairs his rights and prerogatives as power to take cognizance of the petition at bar if compelling reasons,
legislator. However in a number of cases, we clarified that where a
[2] [3]
or the nature and importance of the issues raised, warrant the
case involves an issue of utmost importance, or one of overreaching immediate exercise of its jurisdiction. [4]

significance to society, the Court, in its discretion, can brush aside


In the case at bar, we are not inclined to rule differently. The
procedural technicalities and take cognizance of the petition.
petition at bar seeks to nullify, via a petition for certiorari and
Considering that the instant petition involves legal questions that may
prohibition filed directly before this Court, the Grant of Authority and
have serious implications on public interests, we rule that petitioner
Agreement for the Operation of Sports Betting and Internet Gaming by
has the requisite legal standing to file this petition.
virtue of which SAGE was vested by PAGCOR with the authority to
Respondents likewise urge the dismissal of the petition for operate on-line Internet gambling. It is well settled that averments in
certiorari and prohibition because under Section 1, Rule 65 of the 1997 the complaint, and not the nomenclature given by the parties,
Rules of Civil Procedure, these remedies should be directed to any determine the nature of the action. Although the petition alleges grave
[5]

tribunal, board, officer or person whether exercising judicial, quasi- abuse of discretion on the part of respondent PAGCOR, what it
judicial, or ministerial functions. They maintain that in exercising its primarily seeks to accomplish is to prevent the enforcement of the
legally-mandated franchise to grant authority to certain entities to Grant of Authority and Agreement for the Operation of Sports Betting
operate a gambling or gaming activity, PAGCOR is not performing a and Internet Gaming. Thus, the action may properly be characterized
judicial or quasi-judicial act. Neither should the act of granting licenses as one for Prohibition under Section 2 of Rule 65, which incidentally,
or authority to operate be construed as a purely ministerial is another remedy resorted to by petitioner.
act. According to them, in the event that this Court takes cognizance
Granting arguendo that the present action cannot be properly
of the instant petition, the same should be dismissed for failure of
treated as a petition for prohibition, the transcendental importance of
petitioner to observe the hierarchy of courts.
the issues involved in this case warrants that we set aside the
Practically the same procedural infirmities were raised in Del Mar technical defects and take primary jurisdiction over the petition at
v. Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation where an almost bar. One cannot deny that the issues raised herein have potentially
identical factual setting obtained. Petitioners therein filed a petition for pervasive influence on the social and moral well being of this nation,
injunction directly before the Court which sought to enjoin respondent specially the youth; hence, their proper and just determination is an
from operating the jai-alai games by itself or in joint venture with imperative need. This is in accordance with the well-entrenched
another corporate entity allegedly in violation of law and the principle that rules of procedure are not inflexible tools designed to
hinder or delay, but to facilitate and promote the administration of maintain sports betting stations and Internet gaming operations. In
justice. Their strict and rigid application, which would result in essence, the grant of authority gives SAGE the privilege to actively
technicalities that tend to frustrate, rather than promote substantial participate, partake and share PAGCORs franchise to operate a
justice, must always be eschewed. [6]
gambling activity. The grant of franchise is a special privilege that
constitutes a right and a duty to be performed by the grantee. The
Having disposed of these procedural issues, we now come to the
grantee must not perform its activities arbitrarily and whimsically but
substance of the action.
must abide by the limits set by its franchise and strictly adhere to its
A legislative franchise is a special privilege granted by the state to terms and conditionalities. A corporation as a creature of the State is
corporations. It is a privilege of public concern which cannot be presumed to exist for the common good. Hence, the special privileges
exercised at will and pleasure, but should be reserved for public and franchises it receives are subject to the laws of the State and the
control and administration, either by the government directly, or by limitations of its charter. There is therefore a reserved right of the State
public agents, under such conditions and regulations as the to inquire how these privileges had been employed, and whether they
government may impose on them in the interest of the public. It is have been abused. [9]

Congress that prescribes the conditions on which the grant of the


While PAGCOR is allowed under its charter to enter into operators
franchise may be made. Thus the manner of granting the franchise, to
and/or management contracts, it is not allowed under the same charter
whom it may be granted, the mode of conducting the business, the
to relinquish or share its franchise, much less grant a veritable
charter and the quality of the service to be rendered and the duty of
franchise to another entity such as SAGE. PAGCOR can not delegate
the grantee to the public in exercising the franchise are almost always
its power in view of the legal principle of delegata potestas delegare
defined in clear and unequivocal language. [7]

non potest, inasmuch as there is nothing in the charter to show that it


After a circumspect consideration of the foregoing discussion and has been expressly authorized to do so. In Lim v. Pacquing, the [10]

the contending positions of the parties, we hold that PAGCOR has Court clarified that since ADC has no franchise from Congress to
acted beyond the limits of its authority when it passed on or shared its operate the jai-alai, it may not so operate even if it has a license or
franchise to SAGE. permit from the City Mayor to operate the jai-alai in the City of Manila.
In the Del Mar case where a similar issue was raised when By the same token, SAGE has to obtain a separate legislative
PAGCOR entered into a joint venture agreement with two other franchise and not ride on PAGCORs franchise if it were to legally
entities in the operation and management of jai alai games, the operate on-line Internet gambling.
Court, in an En Banc Resolution dated 24 August 2001, partially
[8]
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the instant petition is
granted the motions for clarification filed by respondents therein GRANTED. The Grant of Authority and Agreement to Operate Sports
insofar as it prayed that PAGCOR has a valid franchise, but only by Betting and Internet Gaming executed by PAGCOR in favor of SAGE
itself (i.e. not in association with any other person or entity), to operate, is declared NULL and VOID.
maintain and/or manage the game of jai-alai.
SO ORDERED.
In the case at bar, PAGCOR executed an agreement with SAGE
whereby the former grants the latter the authority to operate and
ROMEO P. GEROCHI, G.R. No. 159796 Petitioners Romeo P. Gerochi, Katulong Ng Bayan (KB), and
KATULONG NG BAYAN (KB) Environmentalist Consumers Network, Inc. (ECN) (petitioners), come
and ENVIRONMENTALIST Present: before this Court in this original action praying that Section 34 of Republic
CONSUMERS NETWORK, INC.
Act (RA) 9136, otherwise known as the Electric Power Industry Reform
(ECN), PUNO, C.J.,
Petitioners, QUISUMBING, Act of 2001 (EPIRA), imposing the Universal Charge,[1] and Rule 18 of
YNARES-SANTIAGO, the Rules and Regulations (IRR)[2] which seeks to implement the said
-versus- SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, imposition, be declared unconstitutional. Petitioners also pray that the
CARPIO, Universal Charge imposed upon the consumers be refunded and that a
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order (TRO) be issued
(DOE), ENERGY REGULATORY CORONA, directing the respondents to refrain from implementing, charging, and
COMMISSION (ERC), CARPIO MORALES, collecting the said charge.[3] The assailed provision of law reads:
NATIONAL POWER AZCUNA,
CORPORATION (NPC), POWER TINGA, SECTION 34. Universal Charge. Within one (1) year
SECTOR ASSETS AND CHICO-NAZARIO, from the effectivity of this Act, a universal charge to be
LIABILITIES MANAGEMENT GARCIA, determined, fixed and approved by the ERC, shall be imposed
GROUP (PSALM Corp.), VELASCO, JR. and on all electricity end-users for the following purposes:
STRATEGIC POWER NACHURA, JJ.
UTILITIES GROUP (SPUG), (a) Payment for the stranded debts[4] in excess of the amount
and PANAYELECTRIC Promulgated: assumed by the National Government and stranded contract
COMPANY INC. (PECO), costs of NPC[5] and as well as qualified stranded contract
Respondents. July 17, 2007 costs of distribution utilities resulting from the restructuring
of the industry;
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
-x (b) Missionary electrification;[6]

(c) The equalization of the taxes and royalties applied to


DECISION indigenous or renewable sources of energy vis--vis
imported energy fuels;
NACHURA, J.:
(d) An environmental charge equivalent to one-fourth of one
centavo per kilowatt-hour (P0.0025/kWh), which shall
accrue to an environmental fund to be used solely for
watershed rehabilitation and management. Said fund shall
be managed by NPC under existing arrangements; and On May 7, 2002, NPC filed another petition with ERC, docketed as ERC
Case No. 2002-194, praying that the proposed share from the Universal
(e) A charge to account for all forms of cross-subsidies for a
period not exceeding three (3) years. Charge for the Environmental charge of P0.0025 per kilowatt-hour
(/kWh), or a total of P119,488,847.59, be approved for withdrawal from
The universal charge shall be a non-bypassable charge which the Special
shall be passed on and collected from all end-users on a monthly Trust Fund (STF) managed by respondent Power SectorAssets and
basis by the distribution utilities. Collections by the distribution
utilities and the TRANSCO in any given month shall be
remitted to the PSALM Corp. on or before the fifteenth (15th)
of the succeeding month, net of any amount due to the
distribution utility. Any end-user or self-generating entity not
connected to a distribution utility shall remit its corresponding
universal charge directly to the TRANSCO. The PSALM Corp.,
as administrator of the fund, shall create a Special Trust Fund
which shall be disbursed only for the purposes specified herein
in an open and transparent manner. All amount collected for the
universal charge shall be distributed to the respective
beneficiaries within a reasonable period to be provided by the
ERC.

The Facts

Congress enacted the EPIRA on June 8, 2001; on June 26, 2001, it took
effect.[7]

On April 5, 2002, respondent National Power Corporation-Strategic Power


Utilities Group[8] (NPC-SPUG) filed with respondent Energy Regulatory
Commission (ERC) a petition for the availment from the Universal Charge
of its share for Missionary Electrification, docketed as ERC Case No.
2002-165.[9]
Liabilities Management Group (PSALM)[10] for the rehabilitation and and remit the same to PSALM on or before the 15 th day of the
management of watershed areas.[11] succeeding month.

In the meantime, NPC-SPUG is directed to submit, not


On December 20, 2002, the ERC issued an Order[12] in ERC Case No. later than April 30, 2004, a detailed report to include Audited
2002-165 provisionally approving the computed amount of P0.0168/kWh Financial Statements and physical status (percentage of
as the share of the NPC-SPUG from the Universal Charge for Missionary completion) of the projects using the prescribed format.
Electrification and authorizing the National Transmission Corporation
(TRANSCO) and Distribution Utilities to collect the same from its end- Let copies of this Order be furnished petitioner NPC-
users on a monthly basis. SPUG and all distribution utilities (Dus).

SO ORDERED.
On June 26, 2003, the ERC rendered its Decision[13] (for ERC Case No.
2002-165) modifying its Order of December 20, 2002, thus:
On August 13, 2003, NPC-SPUG filed a Motion for Reconsideration
WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the asking the ERC, among others,[14] to set aside the above-mentioned
provisional authority granted to petitioner National Power Decision, which the ERC granted in its Order dated October 7, 2003,
Corporation-Strategic Power Utilities Group (NPC-SPUG) in
the Order dated December 20, 2002 is hereby modified to the
disposing:
effect that an additional amount of P0.0205 per kilowatt-hour
should be added to the P0.0168 per kilowatt-hour provisionally WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the Motion
authorized by the Commission in the said Order. Accordingly, for Reconsideration filed by petitioner National Power
a total amount of P0.0373 per kilowatt-hour is hereby Corporation-Small Power Utilities Group (NPC-SPUG) is
APPROVED for withdrawal from the Special Trust Fund hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the Decision dated June 26,
managed by PSALM as its share from the Universal Charge for 2003 is hereby modified accordingly.
Missionary Electrification (UC-ME) effective on the following
billing cycles: Relative thereto, NPC-SPUG is directed to submit a quarterly
report on the following:
(a) June 26-July 25, 2003 for National Transmission
Corporation (TRANSCO); and 1. Projects for CY 2002 undertaken;
(b) July 2003 for Distribution Utilities (Dus). 2. Location
3. Actual amount utilized to complete the project;
Relative thereto, TRANSCO and Dus are directed to 4. Period of completion;
collect the UC-ME in the amount of P0.0373 per kilowatt-hour 5. Start of Operation; and
6. Explanation of the reallocation of UC-ME
funds, if any.
SO ORDERED.[15]

Meanwhile, on April 2, 2003, ERC decided ERC Case No. 2002-194,


authorizing the NPC to draw up to P70,000,000.00 from PSALM for its
2003 Watershed Rehabilitation Budget subject to the availability of funds
for the Environmental Fund component of the Universal Charge.[16]

On the basis of the said ERC decisions, respondent Panay Electric


Company, Inc. (PECO) charged petitioner Romeo P. Gerochi and all other
end-users with the Universal Charge as reflected in their respective electric purpose of the charges imposed therein, which is not so in the case at
bills starting from the month of July 2003.[17] bench. In said cases, the respective funds[20] were created in order to
Hence, this original action. balance and stabilize the prices of oil and sugar, and to act as buffer to
counteract the changes and adjustments in prices, peso devaluation, and
Petitioners submit that the assailed provision of law and its IRR which other variables which cannot be adequately and timely monitored by the
sought to implement the same are unconstitutional on the following legislature. Thus, there was a need to delegate powers to administrative
grounds: bodies.[21] Petitioners posit that the Universal Charge is imposed not for a
similar purpose.
1) The universal charge provided for under Sec. 34 of the On the other hand, respondent PSALM through the Office of the
EPIRA and sought to be implemented under Sec. 2, Rule 18 Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) contends that unlike a tax which
of the IRR of the said law is a tax which is to be collected
is imposed to provide income for public purposes, such as support of the
from all electric end-users and self-generating entities. The
power to tax is strictly a legislative function and as such, the government, administration of the law, or payment of public expenses, the
delegation of said power to any executive or administrative assailed Universal Charge is levied for a specific regulatory purpose,
agency like the ERC is unconstitutional, giving the same which is to ensure the viability of the country's electric power industry.
unlimited authority. The assailed provision clearly provides Thus, it is exacted by the State in the exercise of its inherent police power.
that the Universal Charge is to be determined, fixed and On this premise, PSALM submits that there is no undue delegation of
approved by the ERC, hence leaving to the latter complete legislative power to the ERC since the latter merely exercises a limited
discretionary legislative authority.
authority or discretion as to the execution and implementation of the
2) The ERC is also empowered to approve and determine provisions of the EPIRA.[22]
where the funds collected should be used.
Respondents Department of Energy (DOE), ERC, and NPC, through the
3) The imposition of the Universal Charge on all end-users is Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), share the same view that the
oppressive and confiscatory and amounts to taxation without Universal Charge is not a tax because it is levied for a specific regulatory
representation as the consumers were not given a chance to
purpose, which is to ensure the viability of the country's electric power
be heard and represented.[18]
industry, and is, therefore, an exaction in the exercise of the State's police
power. Respondents further contend that said Universal Charge does not
Petitioners contend that the Universal Charge has the characteristics possess the essential characteristics of a tax, that its imposition would
of a tax and is collected to fund the operations of the NPC. They argue that redound to the benefit of the electric power industry and not to the public,
the cases[19] invoked by the respondents clearly show the regulatory and that its rate is uniformly levied on electricity end-users, unlike a tax
which is imposed based on the individual taxpayer's ability to pay.
Moreover, respondents deny that there is undue delegation of legislative
power to the ERC since the EPIRA sets forth sufficient determinable
standards which would guide the ERC in the exercise of the powers
granted to it. Lastly, respondents argue that the imposition of the Universal
Charge is not oppressive and confiscatory since it is an exercise of the
police power of the State and it complies with the requirements of due
process.[23]

On its part, respondent PECO argues that it is duty-bound to collect and


remit the amount pertaining to the Missionary Electrification and
Environmental Fund components of the Universal Charge, pursuant to Sec.
34 of the EPIRA and the Decisions in ERC Case Nos. 2002-194 and 2002-
165. Otherwise, PECO could be held liable under Sec. 46[24] of the EPIRA,
which imposes fines and penalties for any violation of its provisions or its
IRR.[25]
The Issues

The ultimate issues in the case at bar are: Article VIII, Section 5(1) and (2) of the 1987
Constitution[27] categorically provides that:
1) Whether or not, the Universal Charge imposed under Sec.
34 of the EPIRA is a tax; and
SECTION 5. The Supreme Court shall have the
2) Whether or not there is undue delegation of legislative following powers:
power to tax on the part of the ERC.[26]

1. Exercise original jurisdiction over cases affecting


ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and
Before we discuss the issues, the Court shall first deal with an over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo
warranto, and habeas corpus.
obvious procedural lapse.
2. Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or
certiorari, as the law or the rules of court may provide, final
judgments and orders of lower courts in:
Petitioners filed before us an original action particularly
denominated as a Complaint assailing the constitutionality of Sec. 34 of (a) All cases in which the constitutionality or
the EPIRA imposing the Universal Charge and Rule 18 of the EPIRA's validity of any treaty, international or
IRR. No doubt, petitioners have locus standi. They impugn the executive agreement, law, presidential decree,
constitutionality of Sec. 34 of the EPIRA because they sustained a direct proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or
injury as a result of the imposition of the Universal Charge as reflected in regulation is in question.
their electric bills.

But this Court's jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari,


prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus, while
However, petitioners violated the doctrine of hierarchy of courts concurrent with that of the regional trial courts and the Court of Appeals,
when they filed this Complaint directly with us. Furthermore, the does not give litigants unrestrained freedom of choice of forum from which
Complaint is bereft of any allegation of grave abuse of discretion on the to seek such relief.[28] It has long been established that this Court will not
part of the ERC or any of the public respondents, in order for the Court to entertain direct resort to it unless the redress desired cannot be obtained in
consider it as a petition for certiorari or prohibition.
the appropriate courts, or where exceptional and compelling circumstances
justify availment of a remedy within and call for the exercise of our On the other hand, police power is the power of the state to promote public
primary jurisdiction.[29] This circumstance alone warrants the outright welfare by restraining and regulating the use of liberty and property. [33] It
dismissal of the present action. is the most pervasive, the least limitable, and the most demanding of the
three fundamental powers of the State. The justification is found in the
Latin maxims salus populi est suprema lex (the welfare of the people is the
This procedural infirmity notwithstanding, we opt to resolve the supreme law) and sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas (so use your property
constitutional issue raised herein. We are aware that if the constitutionality as not to injure the property of others). As an inherent attribute of
of Sec. 34 of the EPIRA is not resolved now, the issue will certainly sovereignty which virtually extends to all public needs, police power
resurface in the near future, resulting in a repeat of this litigation, and grants a wide panoply of instruments through which the State, as parens
probably involving the same parties. In the public interest and to avoid patriae, gives effect to a host of its regulatory powers.[34] We have held
unnecessary delay, this Court renders its ruling now. that the power to "regulate" means the power to protect, foster, promote,
preserve, and control, with due regard for the interests, first and foremost,
of the public, then of the utility and of its patrons.[35]
The instant complaint is bereft of merit.
The conservative and pivotal distinction between these two powers
The First Issue
rests in the purpose for which the charge is made. If generation of revenue
is the primary purpose and regulation is merely incidental, the imposition
To resolve the first issue, it is necessary to distinguish the States
is a tax; but if regulation is the primary purpose, the fact that revenue is
power of taxation from the police power.
incidentally raised does not make the imposition a tax.[36]
In exacting the assailed Universal Charge through Sec. 34 of the EPIRA,
The power to tax is an incident of sovereignty and is unlimited in its range,
the State's police power, particularly its regulatory dimension, is invoked.
acknowledging in its very nature no limits, so that security against its abuse
Such can be deduced from Sec. 34 which enumerates the purposes for
is to be found only in the responsibility of the legislature which imposes
which the Universal Charge is imposed[37] and which can be amply
the tax on the constituency that is to pay it. [30] It is based on the principle
discerned as regulatory in character. The EPIRA resonates such regulatory
that taxes are the lifeblood of the government, and their prompt and certain
purposes, thus:
availability is an imperious need.[31] Thus, the theory behind the exercise
of the power to tax emanates from necessity; without taxes, government SECTION 2. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared the
cannot fulfill its mandate of promoting the general welfare and well-being policy of the State:
of the people.[32]
(a) To ensure and accelerate the total electrification of the From the aforementioned purposes, it can be gleaned that the assailed
country; Universal Charge is not a tax, but an exaction in the exercise of the State's
(b) To ensure the quality, reliability, security and affordability
police power. Public welfare is surely promoted.
of the supply of electric power;
(c) To ensure transparent and reasonable prices of electricity in
a regime of free and fair competition and full public Moreover, it is a well-established doctrine that the taxing power may be
accountability to achieve greater operational and economic used as an implement of police power.[38] In Valmonte v. Energy
efficiency and enhance the competitiveness of Philippine Regulatory Board, et al.[39] and inGaston v. Republic Planters
products in the global market; Bank,[40] this Court held that the Oil Price Stabilization Fund (OPSF) and
(d) To enhance the inflow of private capital and broaden the the Sugar Stabilization Fund (SSF) were exactions made in the exercise of
ownership base of the power generation, transmission and
distribution sectors; the police power. The doctrine was reiterated in Osmea v. Orbos[41] with
(e) To ensure fair and non-discriminatory treatment of public respect to the OPSF. Thus, we disagree with petitioners that the instant
and private sector entities in the process of restructuring the case is different from the aforementioned cases. With the Universal
electric power industry; Charge, a Special Trust Fund (STF) is also created under the
(f) To protect the public interest as it is affected by the rates and administration of PSALM.[42] The STF has some notable characteristics
services of electric utilities and other providers of electric similar to the OPSF and the SSF, viz.:
power;
(g) To assure socially and environmentally compatible energy
1) In the implementation of stranded cost recovery, the ERC
sources and infrastructure;
shall conduct a review to determine whether there is under-
(h) To promote the utilization of indigenous and new and
recovery or over recovery and adjust (true-up) the level of
renewable energy resources in power generation in order to
the stranded cost recovery charge. In case of an over-
reduce dependence on imported energy;
recovery, the ERC shall ensure that any excess amount shall
(i) To provide for an orderly and transparent privatization of the
be remitted to the STF. A separate account shall be created
assets and liabilities of the National Power Corporation
for these amounts which shall be held in trust for any future
(NPC);
claims of distribution utilities for stranded cost recovery. At
(j) To establish a strong and purely independent regulatory body
the end of the stranded cost recovery period, any remaining
and system to ensure consumer protection and enhance the
amount in this account shall be used to reduce the electricity
competitive operation of the electricity market; and
rates to the end-users.[43]
(k) To encourage the efficient use of energy and other
modalities of demand side management.
2) With respect to the assailed Universal Charge, if the total
amount collected for the same is greater than the actual
availments against it, the PSALM shall retain the balance
within the STF to pay for periods where a shortfall occurs.[44]
non delegari potest (what has been delegated cannot be delegated). This is
3) Upon expiration of the term of PSALM, the administration based on the ethical principle that such delegated power constitutes not
of the STF shall be transferred to the DOF or any of the DOF
only a right but a duty to be performed by the delegate through the
attached agencies as designated by the DOF Secretary.[45]
instrumentality of his own judgment and not through the intervening mind
of another. [47]

The OSG is in point when it asseverates: In the face of the increasing complexity of modern life, delegation of
legislative power to various specialized administrative agencies is allowed
Evidently, the establishment and maintenance of the Special as an exception to this principle.[48]Given the volume and variety of
Trust Fund, under the last paragraph of Section 34, R.A. No. interactions in today's society, it is doubtful if the legislature can
9136, is well within the pervasive and non-waivable power and promulgate laws that will deal adequately with and respond promptly to
responsibility of the government to secure the physical and the minutiae of everyday life. Hence, the need to delegate to administrative
economic survival and well-being of the community, that
bodies - the principal agencies tasked to execute laws in their specialized
comprehensive sovereign authority we designate as the police
power of the State.[46] fields - the authority to promulgate rules and regulations to implement a
given statute and effectuate its policies. All that is required for the valid
exercise of this power of subordinate legislation is that the regulation be
This feature of the Universal Charge further boosts the position that the germane to the objects and purposes of the law and that the regulation be
same is an exaction imposed primarily in pursuit of the State's police not in contradiction to, but in conformity with, the standards prescribed by
objectives. The STF reasonably serves and assures the attainment and the law. These requirements are denominated as the completeness test and
perpetuity of the purposes for which the Universal Charge is imposed, i.e., the sufficient standard test.
to ensure the viability of the country's electric power industry.
Under the first test, the law must be complete in all its terms and conditions
The Second Issue when it leaves the legislature such that when it reaches the delegate, the
only thing he will have to do is to enforce it. The second test mandates
The principle of separation of powers ordains that each of the three adequate guidelines or limitations in the law to determine the boundaries
branches of government has exclusive cognizance of and is supreme in of the delegate's authority and prevent the delegation from running riot.[49]
matters falling within its own constitutionally allocated sphere. A logical
corollary to the doctrine of separation of powers is the principle of non- The Court finds that the EPIRA, read and appreciated in its entirety, in
delegation of powers, as expressed in the Latin maxim potestas delegata relation to Sec. 34 thereof, is complete in all its essential terms and
conditions, and that it contains sufficient standards.
minimum financial standards to protect the public interest.
Although Sec. 34 of the EPIRA merely provides that within one (1) year Determine, fix, and approve, after due notice and public
hearings the universal charge, to be imposed on all electricity
from the effectivity thereof, a Universal Charge to be determined, fixed
end-users pursuant to Section 34 hereof;
and approved by the ERC, shall be imposed on all electricity end-users,
and therefore, does not state the specific amount to be paid as Universal
Charge, the amount nevertheless is made certain by the legislative
parameters provided in the law itself. For one, Sec. 43(b)(ii) of the EPIRA Moreover, contrary to the petitioners contention, the ERC does not enjoy
provides: a wide latitude of discretion in the determination of the Universal
Charge. Sec. 51(d) and (e) of the EPIRA[50] clearly provides:

SECTION 43. Functions of the ERC. The ERC shall promote SECTION 51. Powers. The PSALM Corp. shall, in the
competition, encourage market development, ensure customer performance of its functions and for the attainment of its
choice and penalize abuse of market power in the restructured objective, have the following powers:
electricity industry. In appropriate cases, the ERC is authorized
to issue cease and desist order after due notice and hearing. xxxx
Towards this end, it shall be responsible for the following key
functions in the restructured industry: (d) To calculate the amount of the stranded debts and stranded
contract costs of NPC which shall form the basis for ERC
xxxx in the determination of the universal charge;

(b) Within six (6) months from the effectivity of this Act, (e) To liquidate the NPC stranded contract costs, utilizing the
promulgate and enforce, in accordance with law, a National proceeds from sales and other property contributed to it,
Grid Code and a Distribution Code which shall include, but not including the proceeds from the universal charge.
limited to the following:

xxxx

(ii) Financial capability standards for the generating


companies, the TRANSCO, distribution utilities and suppliers:
Provided, That in the formulation of the financial capability Thus, the law is complete and passes the first test for valid
standards, the nature and function of the entity shall be delegation of legislative power.
considered: Provided, further, That such standards are set to
ensure that the electric power industry participants meet the
As to the second test, this Court had, in the past, accepted as sufficient possesses only the powers and functions listed under Section 43
standards the following: "interest of law and order;"[51] "adequate and of the EPIRA is to frustrate the objectives of the law.
efficient instruction;"[52] "public interest;"[53] "justice and
[54] [55]
equity;" "public convenience and welfare;" "simplicity, economy and
In his Concurring and Dissenting Opinion[62] in the same case, then
efficiency;"[56] "standardization and regulation of medical
[57]
Associate Justice, now Chief Justice, Reynato S. Puno described the
education;" and "fair and equitable employment
[58]
immensity of police power in relation to the delegation of powers to the
practices." Provisions of the EPIRA such as, among others, to ensure
ERC and its regulatory functions over electric power as a vital public
the total electrification of the country and the quality, reliability, security
utility, to wit:
and affordability of the supply of electric power[59] and watershed
rehabilitation and management[60] meet the requirements for valid Over the years, however, the range of police power was
delegation, as they provide the limitations on the ERCs power to formulate no longer limited to the preservation of public health, safety and
the IRR. These are sufficient standards. morals, which used to be the primary social interests in earlier
times. Police power now requires the State to "assume an
It may be noted that this is not the first time that the ERC's conferred affirmative duty to eliminate the excesses and injustices that are
powers were challenged. In Freedom from Debt Coalition v. Energy the concomitants of an unrestrained industrial economy."
Police power is now exerted "to further the public welfare a
Regulatory Commission,[61] the Court had occasion to say: concept as vast as the good of society itself." Hence, "police
power is but another name for the governmental authority to
In determining the extent of powers possessed by the ERC, the further the welfare of society that is the basic end of all
provisions of the EPIRA must not be read in separate parts. government." When police power is delegated to administrative
Rather, the law must be read in its entirety, because a statute is bodies with regulatory functions, its exercise should be given a
passed as a whole, and is animated by one general purpose and wide latitude. Police power takes on an even broader dimension
intent. Its meaning cannot to be extracted from any single part in developing countries such as ours, where the State must take
thereof but from a general consideration of the statute as a a more active role in balancing the many conflicting interests in
whole. Considering the intent of Congress in enacting the society. The Questioned Order was issued by the ERC, acting
EPIRA and reading the statute in its entirety, it is plain to see as an agent of the State in the exercise of police power. We
that the law has expanded the jurisdiction of the regulatory should have exceptionally good grounds to curtail its exercise.
body, the ERC in this case, to enable the latter to implement the This approach is more compelling in the field of rate-regulation
reforms sought to be accomplished by the EPIRA. When the of electric power rates. Electric power generation and
legislators decided to broaden the jurisdiction of the ERC, they distribution is a traditional instrument of economic growth that
did not intend to abolish or reduce the powers already conferred affects not only a few but the entire nation. It is an important
upon ERC's predecessors. To sustain the view that the ERC factor in encouraging investment and promoting business. The
engines of progress may come to a screeching halt if the delivery One of the landmark pieces of legislation enacted by Congress
of electric power is impaired. Billions of pesos would be lost as in recent years is the EPIRA. It established a new policy, legal
a result of power outages or unreliable electric power structure and regulatory framework for the electric power
services. The State thru the ERC should be able to exercise its industry. The new thrust is to tap private capital for the
police power with great flexibility, when the need arises. expansion and improvement of the industry as the large
government debt and the highly capital-intensive character of
the industry itself have long been acknowledged as the critical
constraints to the program. To attract private investment, largely
foreign, the jaded structure of the industry had to be addressed.
While the generation and transmission sectors were centralized
and monopolistic, the distribution side was fragmented with
This was reiterated in National Association of Electricity Consumers for over 130 utilities, mostly small and uneconomic. The pervasive
flaws have caused a low utilization of existing generation
Reforms v. Energy Regulatory Commission[63] where the Court held that
capacity; extremely high and uncompetitive power rates; poor
the ERC, as regulator, should have sufficient power to respond in real time quality of service to consumers; dismal to forgettable
to changes wrought by multifarious factors affecting public utilities. performance of the government power sector; high system
losses; and an inability to develop a clear strategy for
From the foregoing disquisitions, we therefore hold that there is no undue overcoming these shortcomings.
delegation of legislative power to the ERC.
Thus, the EPIRA provides a framework for the restructuring of
the industry, including the privatization of the assets of the
Petitioners failed to pursue in their Memorandum the contention in National Power Corporation (NPC), the transition to a
the Complaint that the imposition of the Universal Charge on all end-users competitive structure, and the delineation of the roles of various
is oppressive and confiscatory, and amounts to taxation without government agencies and the private entities. The law ordains
representation. Hence, such contention is deemed waived or abandoned the division of the industry into four (4) distinct
per Resolution[64] of August 3, 2004.[65] Moreover, the determination of sectors, namely: generation, transmission, distribution andsupp
ly.
whether or not a tax is excessive, oppressive or confiscatory is an issue
Corollarily, the NPC generating plants have to privatized and its
which essentially involves questions of fact, and thus, this Court is transmission business spun off and privatized thereafter.[67]
precluded from reviewing the same.[66]

As a penultimate statement, it may be well to recall what this Court said of Finally, every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality, and
EPIRA: to justify its nullification, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of
the Constitution and not one that is doubtful, speculative, or
argumentative.[68] Indubitably, petitioners failed to overcome this
presumption in favor of the EPIRA. We find no clear violation of the
Constitution which would warrant a pronouncement that Sec. 34 of the
EPIRA and Rule 18 of its IRR are unconstitutional and void.

WHEREFORE, the instant case is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 118910 November 16, 1995 The decision in the first case was a split decision: 7-6. With the retirement of one of the original majority (Cruz, J.) and one of
the dissenters (Bidin, J.) it was not surprising that the first decision in the first case was later reversed.
KILOSBAYAN, INCORPORATED, JOVITO R. SALONGA, CIRILO A. RIGOS, ERME CAMBA, EMILIO C. CAPULONG,
JR., JOSE T. APOLO, EPHRAIM TENDERO, FERNANDO SANTIAGO, JOSE ABCEDE, CHRISTINE TAN, RAFAEL G. It is argued that, in any case, a reexamination of the two questions is barred because the PCSO and the Philippine Gaming
FERNANDO, RAOUL V. VICTORINO, JOSE CUNANAN, QUINTIN S. DOROMAL, SEN. FREDDIE WEBB, SEN. Management Corporation made a " formal commitment not to ask for a reconsideration of the Decision in the first lotto case
WIGBERTO TAÑADA, REP. JOKER P. ARROYO, petitioners, and instead submit a new agreement that would be in conformity with the PCSO Charter (R.A. No. 1169, as amended) and
vs. with the Decision of the Supreme Court in the first Kilosbayan case against on-line, hi-tech lotto."
MANUEL L. MORATO, in his capacity as Chairman of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and the
PHILIPPINE GAMING MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, respondents.
To be sure, a new contract was entered into which the majority of the Court finds has been purged of the features which
made the first contract objectionable. Moreover, what the PCSO said in its manifestation in the first case was the following:
RESOLUTION
1. They are no longer filing a motion for reconsideration of the Decision of this Honorable Court dated
May 5, 1994, a copy of which was received on May 6, 1994.

MENDOZA, J.: 2. Respondents PCSO and PGMC are presently negotiating a new lease agreement consistent with
the authority of PCSO under its charter (R.A. No. 1169, as amended by B.P. Blg. 42) and conformable
with the pronouncements of this Honorable Court in its Decision of May 5, 1995.
Petitioners seek reconsideration of our decision in this case. They insist that the decision in the first case has already settled
(1) whether petitioner Kilosbayan, Inc. has a standing to sue and (2) whether under its charter (R.A. No. 1169, as amended)
the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office can enter into any form of association or collaboration with any party in operating The PGMC made substantially the same manifestation as the PCSO.
an on-line lottery. Consequently, petitioners contend, these questions can no longer be reopened.
There was thus no "formal commitment" — but only a manifestation — that the parties were not filing a motion for
Because two members of the Court did not consider themselves bound by the decision in the first case, petitioners suggest reconsideration. Even if the parties made a "formal commitment," the six (6) dissenting Justices certainly could not be bound
that the two, in joining the dissenters in the first case in reexamining the questions in the present case, acted otherwise than thereby not to insist on their contrary view on the question of standing. Much less were the two new members bound by any
according to law. They cite the following statement in the opinion of the Court: "formal commitment" made by the parties. They believed that the ruling in the first case was erroneous. Since in their view
reexamination was not barred by the doctrine of stare decisis, res judicata or conclusiveness of judgment or law of the case,
they voted the way they did with the remaining five (5) dissenters in the first case to form a new majority of eight.
The voting on petitioners' standing in the previous case was a narrow one, with seven (7) members
sustaining petitioners' standing and six (6) denying petitioners' right to bring the suit. The majority was
thus a tenuous one that is not likely to be maintained in any subsequent litigation. In addition, there Petitioners ask, "Why should this be so?" Because, as explained in the decision, the first decision was erroneous and no
have been changes in the membership of the Court, with the retirement of Justices Cruz and Bidin and legal doctrine stood in the way of its reexamination. It can, therefore, be asked "with equal candor": "Why should this not be
the appointment of the writer of this opinion and Justice Francisco. Given this fact it is hardly tenable to so?"
insist on the maintenance of the ruling as to petitioners' standing.
Nor is this the first time a split decision was tested, if not reversed, in a subsequent case because of change in the
Petitioners claim that this statement "conveys a none too subtle suggestion, perhaps a Freudian slip, that the two membership of a court. In 1957, this Court, voting 6-5, held in Feliciano v. Aquinas, G.R. No. L-10201, Sept. 23, 1957 that
new appointees, regardless of the merit of the Decision in the first Kilosbayan case against the lotto (Kilosbayan, the phrase "at the time of the election" in §2174 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1917 meant that a candidate for
et al. v. Guingona, 232 SCRA 110 (1994)) must of necessity align themselves with all the Ramos appointees who municipal elective position must be at least 23 years of age on the date of the election. On the other hand, the dissenters
were dissenters in the first case and constitute the new majority in the second lotto case." And petitioners ask, argued that it was enough if he attained that age on the day he assumed office.
"why should it be so?"
Less than three years later, the same question was before the Court again, as a candidate for municipal councilor stated
Petitioners ask a question to which they have made up an answer. Their attempt at psychoanalysis, detecting a Freudian slip under oath in her certificate of candidacy that she was eligible for that position although she attained the requisite age (23
where none exists, may be more revealing of their own unexpressed wish to find motives where there are none which they years) only when she assumed office. The question was whether she could be prosecuted for falsification. In People v.
can impute to some members of the Court. Yang, 107 Phi. 888 (1960), the Court ruled she could not. Justice, later Chief Justice, Benison, who dissented in the first
case, Feliciano v. Aquinas, supra, wrote the opinion of the Court, holding that while the statement that the accused was
eligible was "inexact or erroneous, according to the majority in the Feliciano case," the accused could not be held liable for
For the truth is that the statement is no more than an effort to explain — rather than to justify — the majority's decision to falsification, because
overrule the ruling in the previous case. It is simply meant to explain that because the five members of the Court who
dissented in the first case (Melo, Quiason, Puno, Vitug and Kapunan, JJ.) and the two new members (Mendoza and
Francisco, JJ.) thought the previous ruling to be erroneous and its reexamination not to be barred by stare decisis, res the question [whether the law really required candidates to have the required age on the day of the
judicata or conclusiveness of judgment, or law of the case, it was hardly tenable for petitioners to insist on the first ruling. election or whether it was sufficient that they attained it at the beginning of the term of office] has not
been discussed anew, despite the presence of new members; we simply assume for the purpose of
this decision that the doctrine stands.
Consequently to petitioners' question "What is the glue that holds them together," implying some ulterior motives on the part
of the new majority in reexamining the two questions, the answer is: None, except a conviction on the part of the five, who
had been members of the Court at the time they dissented in the first case, and the two new members that the previous Thus because in the meantime there had been a change in the membership of the Court with the retirement of two members
ruling was erroneous. The eighth Justice (Padilla, J.) on the other hand agrees with the seven Justices that the ELA is in a (Recess and Flex, JJ.) who had taken part in the decision in the first case and their replacement by new members (Barrera
real sense a lease agreement and therefore does not violate R.A. No. 1169. and Gutierrez-David, JJ.) and the fact that the vote in the first case was a narrow one (6 to 5), the Court allowed that the
continuing validity of its ruling in the first case might well be doubted. For this reason it gave the accused the benefit of the
doubt that she had acted in the good faith belief that it was sufficient that she was 23 years of age when she assumed office.
In that case, the change in the membership of the Court and the possibility of change in the ruling were noted without morality of gambling is not a justiciable issue. Gambling is not illegal per se. . . . It is left to Congress to deal with the activity
anyone — much less would-be psychoanalysts — finding in the statement of the Court any Freudian slip. The possibility of as it sees fit." (Magtajas v. Pryce Properties Corp., Inc., 234 SCRA 255, 268 [1994]).
change in the rule as a result of change in membership was accepted as a sufficient reason for finding good faith and lack of
criminal intent on the part of the accused.
It is noteworthy that petitioners do not question the validity of the law allowing lotteries. It is the contract entered into by the
PCSO and the PGMC which they are assailing. This case, therefore, does not raise issues of constitutionality but only of
Indeed, a change in the composition of the Court could prove the means of undoing an erroneous decision. This was the contract law, which petitioners, not being privies to the agreement, cannot raise.
lesson of Knox v. Lee, 12 Wall. 457 (1871). The Legal Tender Acts, which were passed during the Civil War, made U.S.
notes (greenbacks) legal tender for the payment of debts, public or private, with certain exceptions. The validity of the acts,
as applied to preexisting debts, was challenged in Hepburn v. Griswold, 8 Wall. 603 (1869). The Court was then composed Nor does Kilosbayan's status as a people's organization give it the requisite personality to question the validity of the
of only eight (8) Justices because of Congressional effort to limit the appointing power of President Johnson. Voting 5-3, the contract in this case. The Constitution provides that "the State shall respect the role of independent people's organizations to
Court declared the acts void. Chief Justice Chase wrote the opinion of the Court in which four others, including Justice Grier, enable the people to pursue and protect, within the democratic framework, their legitimate and collective interests and
concurred. Justices Miller, Swayne and Davis dissented. A private memorandum left by the dissenting Justices described aspirations through peaceful and lawful means," that their right to "effective and reasonable participation at all levels of
how an effort was made "to convince an aged and infirm member of the court [Justice Grier] that he had not understood the social, political, and economic decision-making shall not be abridged." (Art. XIII, §§ 15-16)
question on which he voted," with the result that what was originally a 4-4 vote was converted into a majority (5-3) for holding
the acts invalid. These provisions have not changed the traditional rule that only real parties in interest or those with standing, as the case
may be, may invoke the judicial power. The jurisdiction of this Court, even in cases involving constitutional questions, is
On the day the decision was announced, President Grant nominated to the Court William Strong and Joseph P. Bradley to fill limited by the "case and controversy" requirement of Art. VIII, §5. This requirement lies at the very heart of the judicial
the vacancy caused by the resignation of Justice Grier and to restore the membership of the Court to nine. In 1871, Hepburn function. It is what differentiates decision-making in the courts from decision-making in the political departments of the
v. Griswold was overruled in the Legal Tender Cases, as Knox v. Lee came to be known, in an opinion by Justice Strong, government and bars the bringing of suits by just any party.
with a dissenting opinion by Chief Justice Chase and the three other surviving members of the former majority. There were
allegations that the new Justices were appointed for their known views on the validity of the Legal Tender Acts, just as there Petitioners quote extensively from the speech of Commissioner Garcia before the Constitutional Commission, explaining the
were others who defended the character and independence of the new Justices. History has vindicated the overruling of the provisions on independent people's organizations. There is nothing in the speech, however, which supports their claim of
Hepburn case by the new majority. The Legal Tender Cases proved to be the Court's means of salvation from what Chief standing. On the contrary, the speech points the way to the legislative and executive branches of the government, rather
Justice Hughes later described as one of the Court's "self-inflicted wounds."1 than to the courts, as the appropriate fora for the advocacy of petitioners' views.2 Indeed, the provisions on independent
people's organizations may most usefully be read in connection with the provision on initiative and referendum as a means
We now consider the specific grounds for petitioners' motion for reconsideration. whereby the people may propose or enact laws or reject any of those passed by Congress. For the fact is that petitioners'
opposition to the contract in question is nothing more than an opposition to the government policy on lotteries.

I. We have held that because there are no genuine issues of constitutionality in this case, the rule concerning real party in
interest, applicable to private litigation rather than the more liberal rule on standing, applies to petitioners. Two objections are It is nevertheless insisted that this Court has in the past accorded standing to taxpayers and concerned citizens in cases
made against that ruling: (1) that the constitutional policies and principles invoked by petitioners, while not supplying the involving "paramount public interest." Taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens and legislators have indeed been allowed to sue
basis for affirmative relief from the courts, may nonetheless be resorted to for striking down laws or official actions which are but then only (1) in cases involving constitutional issues and
inconsistent with them and (2) that the Constitution, by guaranteeing to independent people's organizations "effective and (2) under certain conditions. Petitioners do not meet these requirements on standing.
reasonable participation at all levels of social, political and economic decision-making" (Art. XIII, §16), grants them standing
to sue on constitutional grounds. Taxpayers are allowed to sue, for example, where there is a claim of illegal disbursement of public funds. (Pascual v.
Secretary of Public Works, 110 Phi. 331 (1960); Sanidad v. Comelec, 73 SCRA 333 (1976); Bugnay Const. & Dev. v. Laron,
The policies and principles of the Constitution invoked by petitioner read: 176 SCRA 240 (1989); City Council of Cebu v. Cuizon, 47 SCRA 325 [1972]) or where a tax measure is assailed as
unconstitutional. (VAT Cases [Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance], 235 SCRA 630 [1994]) Voters are allowed to question the
validity of election laws because of their obvious interest in the validity of such laws. (Gonzales v. Comelec, 21 SCRA 774
Art. II, §5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection life, liberty, and property, and the [1967]) Concerned citizens can bring suits if the constitutional question they raise is of "transcendental importance" which
promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of must be settled early. (Emergency Powers Cases [Araneta v. Dinglasan], 84 Phi. 368 (1949); Iloilo Palay and Corn Planters
democracy. Ass'n v. Feliciano, 121 Phi. 358 (1965); Philconsa v. Gimenez, 122 Phi. 894 (1965); CLU v. Executive Secretary, 194 SCRA
317 [1991]) Legislators are allowed to sue to question the validity of any official action which they claim infringes their
prerogatives qua legislators. (Philconsa v. Enriquez, 235 506 (1994); Guingona v. PCGG, 207 SCRA 659 (1992); Gonzales
Id., §12. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency v. Macaraig, 191 SCRA 452 (1990); Tolentino v. Comelec, 41 SCRA 702 (1971); Tatad v. Garcia, G.R. No. 114222, April 16,
and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government. 1995 (Mendoza, J., concurring))

Id., §13. The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and Petitioners do not have the same kind of interest that these various litigants have. Petitioners assert an interest as taxpayers,
protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth but they do not meet the standing requirement for bringing taxpayer's suits as set forth in Dumlao v. Comelec, 95 SCRA 392,
patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs. 403 (1980), to wit:

Id., §17. The State shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to While, concededly, the elections to be held involve the expenditure of public moneys, nowhere in their
foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and Petition do said petitioners allege that their tax money is "being extracted and spent in violation of
development. specific constitutional protections against abuses of legislative power" (Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S., 83
[1960]), or that there is a misapplication of such funds by respondent COMELEC (see Pascual vs.
As already stated, however, these provisions are not self-executing. They do not confer rights which can be enforced in the Secretary of Public Works, 110 Phil. 331 [1960]), or that public money is being deflected to any
courts but only provide guidelines for legislative or executive action. By authorizing the holding of lottery for charity, improper purpose. Neither do petitioners seek to restrain respondent from wasting public funds through
Congress has in effect determined that consistently with these policies and principles of the Constitution, the PCSO may be the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law. (Philippine Constitution Association vs. Mathay,
given this authority. That is why we said with respect to the opening by the PAGCOR of a casino in Cagayan de Oro, "the 18 SCRA 300 [1966]), citing Philippine Constitution Association vs. Gimenez, 15 SCRA 479 [1965]).
Besides, the institution of a taxpayer's suit, per se, is no assurance of judicial review. As held by this Nevertheless, although we have concluded that petitioners do not have standing, we have not stopped there and dismissed
Court in Tan vs. Macapagal (43 SCRA 677 [1972]), speaking through our present Chief Justice, this their case. For in the view we take, whether a party has a cause of action and, therefore, is a real party in interest or one with
Court is vested with discretion as to whether or not a taxpayer's suit should be entertained. (Emphasis standing to raise a constitutional question must turn on whether he has a right which has been violated. For this reason the
added) Court has not ducked the substantive issues raised by petitioners.

Petitioners' suit does not fall under any of these categories of taxpayers' suits. II. R.A. No. 1169, as amended by B.P No . 42, states:

Neither do the other cases cited by petitioners support their contention that taxpayers have standing to question government §1. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. — The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office,
contracts regardless of whether public funds are involved or not. In Gonzales v. National Housing, Corp., 94 SCRA 786 hereinafter designated the Office, shall be the principal government agency for raising and providing
(1979), petitioner filed a taxpayer's suit seeking the annulment of a contract between the NHC and a foreign corporation. The for funds for health programs, medical assistance and services and charities of national character, and
case was dismissed by the trial court. The dismissal was affirmed by this Court on the grounds of res judicata and pendency as such shall have the general powers conferred in section thirteen of Act Numbered One Thousand
of a prejudicial question, thus avoiding the question of petitioner's standing. Four Hundred Fifty-Nine, as amended, and shall have the authority:

On the other hand, in Gonzales v. Raquiza, 180 SCRA 254 (1989), petitioner sought the annulment of a contract made by A. To hold and conduct charity sweepstakes races, lotteries and other similar activities, in such
the government with a foreign corporation for the purchase of road construction equipment. The question of standing was not frequency and manner, as shall be determined, and subject to such rules and regulations as shall be
discussed, but even if it was, petitioner's standing could be sustained because he was a minority stockholder of the promulgated by the Board of Directors.
Philippine National Bank, which was one of the defendants in the case.
B. Subject to the approval of the Minister of Human Settlements, to engage in health and welfare-
In the other case cited by petitioners, City Council of Cebu v. Cuizon, 47 SCRA 325 (1972), members of the city council were related investments, programs, projects and activities which may be profit-oriented, by itself or in
allowed to sue to question the validity of a contract entered into by the city government for the purchase of road construction collaboration, association or joint venture with any person, association, company or entity, whether
equipment because their contention was that the contract had been made without their authority. In addition, as taxpayers domestic or foreign, except for the activities mentioned in the preceding paragraph (A), for the purpose
they had an interest in seeing to it that public funds were spent pursuant to an appropriation made by law. of providing for permanent and continuing sources of funds for health programs, including the
expansion of existing ones, medical assistance and services, and/or charitable grants: Provided, That
such investments will not compete with the private sector in areas where investments are adequate as
But, in the case at bar, there is an allegation that public funds are being misapplied or misappropriated. The controlling may be determined by the National Economic and Development Authority.
doctrine is that of Gonzales v. Marcos, 65 SCRA 624 (1975) where it was held that funds raised from contributions for the
benefit of the Cultural Center of the Philippines were not public funds and petitioner had no standing to bring a taxpayer's
suit to question their disbursement by the President of the Philippines. Petitioners insist on the ruling in the previous case that the PCSO cannot hold and conduct charity sweepstakes, lotteries
and other similar activities in collaboration, association or joint venture with any other party because of the clause "except for
the activities mentioned in the preceding paragraph (A)" in paragraph (B) of §1. Petitioners contend that the ruling is the law
Thus, petitioners' right to sue as taxpayers cannot be sustained. Nor as concerned citizens can they bring this suit because of this case because the parties are the same and the case involves the same issue, i.e., the meaning of this statutory
no specific injury suffered by them is alleged. As for the petitioners, who are members of Congress, their right to sue as provision.
legislators cannot be invoked because they do not complain of any infringement of their rights as legislators.

The "law of the case" doctrine is inapplicable, because this case is not a continuation of the first one. Petitioners also say
Finally, in Valmonte v. PCSO, G.R. No. 78716, September 22, 1987, we threw out a petition questioning another form of that inquiry into the same question as to the meaning of the statutory provision is barred by the doctrine of res judicata. The
lottery conducted by the PCSO on the ground that petitioner, who claimed to be a "citizen, lawyer, taxpayer and father of general rule on the "conclusiveness of judgment," however, is subject to the exception that a question may be reopened if it
three minor children," had no direct and personal interest in the lottery. We said: "He must be able to show, not only that the is a legal question and the two actions involve substantially different claims. This is generally accepted in American law from
law is invalid, but also that he has sustained or is in immediate danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its which our Rules of Court was adopted. (Montana v. United States, 440 U.S. 59 L.Ed.2d 147, 210 (1979); RESTATEMENT
enforcement, and not merely that he suffers thereby in some indefinite way. It must appear that the person complaining has OF THE LAW 2d, ON JUDGMENTS, §28; P. BATOR, D. MELTZER, P. MISHKIN AND D. SHAPIRO, THE FEDERAL
been or is about to be denied some right or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled or that he is about to be subjected to COURTS AND THE FEDERAL SYSTEM 1058, n.2 [3rd Ed., 1988]) There is nothing in the record of this case to suggest
some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute complained of." In the case at bar, petitioners have not shown why, that this exception is inapplicable in this jurisdiction.
unlike petitioner in the Valmonte case, they should be accorded standing to bring this suit.

Indeed, the questions raised in this case are legal questions and the claims involved are substantially different from those
The case of Oposa v. Factoran, Jr. 224 SCRA 792 (1993) is different. Citizens' standing to bring a suit seeking the involved in the prior case between the parties. As already stated, the ELA is substantially different from the Contract of
cancellation of timber licenses was sustained in that case because the Court considered Art. II, §16 a right-conferring Lease declared void in the first case.
provision which can be enforced in the courts. That provision states:

Borrowing from the dissenting opinion of Justice Feliciano, petitioners argue that the phrase "by itself or in collaboration,
The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in association or joint venture with any other party" qualifies not only §1 (B) but also §1 (A), because the exception clause
accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. (Emphasis) ("except for the activities mentioned in the preceding paragraph [A]") "operates, as it were, as a renvoi clause which refers
back to Section 1(A) and in this manner avoids the necessity of simultaneously amending the text of Section 1(A)."
In contrast, the policies and principles invoked by petitioners in this case do not permit of such categorization.
This interpretation, however, fails to take into account not only the location of the phrase in paragraph (B), when it should be
Indeed, as already stated, petitioners' opposition is not really to the validity of the ELA but to lotteries which they regard to be in paragraph (A) had that been the intention of the lawmaking authority, but also the phrase "by itself." In other words, under
immoral. This is not, however, a legal issue, but a policy matter for Congress to decide and Congress has permitted lotteries paragraph (B), the PCSO is prohibited from "engag[ing] in . . . investments, programs, projects and activities" if these involve
for charity. sweepstakes races, lotteries and other similar activities not only "in collaboration, association or joint venture" with any other
party but also "by itself." Obviously, this prohibition cannot apply when the PCSO conducts these activities itself. Otherwise,
what paragraph (A) authorizes the PCSO to do, paragraph (B) would prohibit.
The fact is that the phrase in question does not qualify the authority of the PCSO under paragraph (A), but rather the In dissent Justice Feliciano says that in such a situation the government can simply resort to expropriation, paying
authority granted to it by paragraph (B). The amendment of paragraph (B) by B.P. Blg. 42 was intended to enable the PCSO compensation afterward. This is just like purchasing the equipment through negotiation when the question is whether the
to engage in certain investments, programs, projects and activities for the purpose of raising funds for health programs and purchase should be by public bidding, not to mention the fact that the power to expropriate may not be exercised when the
charity. That is why the law provides that such investments by the PCSO should "not compete with the private sector in government can very well negotiate with private owners.
areas where investments are adequate as may be determined by the National Economic and Development Authority."
Justice Davide, then an Assemblyman, made a proposal which was accepted, reflecting the understanding that the bill they
were discussing concerned the authority of the PCSO to invest in the business of others. The following excerpt from the Indeed, there are fundamental difficulties in simultaneously contending (1) that E.O. No. 301, §1 covers both contracts of
Record of the Batasan Pambansa shows this to be the subject of the discussion: sale and lease agreements and (2) that the words "supplies," "materials" and "equipment" can not be interchanged. Thus,
under paragraph (b) of §1, public bidding is not required "whenever the supplies are to be used in connection with a project
or activity which cannot be delayed without causing detriment to the public service." Following petitioners' theory, there
MR. DAVIDE. May I introduce an amendment after "adequate". The intention of the amendment is not should be a public bidding before the government can enter into a contract for the lease of bulldozers and dredging
to leave the determination of whether it is adequate or not to anybody. And my amendment is to add equipment even if these are urgently needed in areas ravaged by lahar because, first, lease contracts are covered by the
after "adequate" the words AS MAY BE DETERMINED BY THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND general rule and, second, the exception to public bidding in paragraph (b) covers only "supplies" but not equipment.
DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY. As a mater of fact, it will strengthen the authority to invest in these
areas, provided that the determination of whether the private sector's activity is already adequate must
be determined by the National Economic and Development Authority. To take still another example. Paragraph (d), which does away with the requirement of public bidding "whenever the supplies
under procurement have been unsuccessfully placed on bid for at least two consecutive times, either due to lack of bidders
or the offers received in each instance were exorbitant or nonconforming to specifications." Again, following the theory of the
Mr. ZAMORA. Mr. Speaker, the committee accepts the proposed amendment. petitioners, a contract for the lease of equipment cannot be entered into even if there are no bids because, first, lease
contracts are governed by the general rule on public bidding and, second, the exception to public bidding in paragraph (d)
applies only to contracts for the furnishing of "supplies."
MR. DAVIDE. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Other examples can be given to show the absurdity of interpreting §1 as applicable to any contract for the furnishing of
(2 RECORD OF THE BATASAN PAMBANSA, Sept. 6, 1979, supplies, materials and equipment and of considering the words "supplies," "materials" and "equipment" to be not
p. 1007) interchangeable. Our ruling that §1 of E.O. No. 301 does not cover the lease of equipment avoids these fundamental
difficulties and is supported by the text of §1, which is entitled "Guidelines for Negotiated Contracts" and by the fact that the
Thus what the PCSO is prohibited from doing is from investing in a business engaged in sweepstakes races, lotteries and only provisions of E.O. No. 301 on leases, namely, §§6 and 7, concern the lease of buildings by or to the government. Thus
other similar activities. It is prohibited from doing so whether "in collaboration, association or joint venture" with others or "by the text of §1 reads:
itself." This seems to be the only possible interpretation of §1 (A) and (B) in light of its text and its legislative history. That
there is today no other entity engaged in sweepstakes races, lotteries and the like does not detract from the validity of this §1. Guidelines for Negotiated Contracts. — Any provision of law, decree, executive order or other
interpretation. issuances to the contrary notwithstanding, no contract for public services or for furnishing supplies,
materials and equipment to the government or any of its branches, agencies or instrumentalities shall
III. The Court noted in its decision that the provisions of the first contract, which were considered to be features of a joint be renewed or entered into without public bidding, except under any of the following situations:
venture agreement, had been removed in the new contract. For instance, §5 of the ELA provides that in the operation of the
on-line lottery, the PCSO must employ "its own competent and qualified personnel." Petitioners claim, however, that the a. Whenever the supplies are urgently needed to meet an emergency which may
"contemporaneous interpretation" of PGMC officials of this provision is otherwise. They cite the testimony of Glen Barroga of involve the loss of, or danger to, life and/or property;
the PGMC before a Senate committee to the effect that under the ELA the PGMC would be operating the lottery system
"side by side" with PCSO personnel as part of the transfer of technology.
b. Whenever the supplies are to be used in connection with a project or activity
which cannot be delayed without causing detriment to the public service;
Whether the transfer of technology would result in a violation of PCSO's franchise should be determined by facts and not by
what some officials of the PGMC state by way of opinion. In the absence of proof to the contrary, it must be presumed that
§5 reflects the true intention of the parties. Thus, Art. 1370 of the Civil Code says that "If the terms of a contract are clear c. Whenever the materials are sold by an exclusive distributor or manufacturer
and leave no doubt upon the intention of the contracting parties, the literal meaning of its stipulations shall control." The who does not have subdealers selling at lower prices and for which no suitable
intention of the parties must be ascertained from their "contemporaneous and subsequent acts." (Art. 1371; Atlantic Gulf Co. substitute can be obtained elsewhere at more advantageous terms to the
v. Insular Government, 10 Phil. 166 [1908]) It cannot simply be judged from what one of them says. On the other hand, the government;
claim of third parties, like petitioners, that the clause on upgrading of equipment would enable the parties after a while to
change the contract and enter into something else in violation of the law is mere speculation and cannot be a basis for
judging the validity of the contract. d. Whenever the supplies under procurement have been unsuccessfully placed
on bid for at least two consecutive times, either due to lack of bidders or the
offers received in each instance were exhorbitant or non-conforming to
IV. It is contended that §1 of E.O. No. 301 covers all types of "contract[s] for public services or for furnishing of supplies, specifications;
materials and equipment to the government or to any of its branches, agencies or instrumentalities" and not only contracts of
purchase and sale. Consequently, a lease of equipment, like the ELA, must be submitted to public bidding in order to be
valid. This contention is based on two premises: (1) that §1 of E.O. No. 301 applies to any contract whereby the government e. In cases where it is apparent that the requisition of the needed supplies
acquires title to or the use of the equipment and (2) that the words "supplies," "materials," and "equipment" are distinct from through negotiated purchase is most advantageous to the government to be
each other so that when an exception in §1 speaks of "supplies," it cannot be construed to mean "equipment." determined by the Department Head concerned; and

Petitioners' contention will not bear analysis. For example, the term "supplies" is used in paragraph (a), which provides that a f. Whenever the purchase is made from an agency of the government.
contract for the furnishing of "supplies" in order to meet an emergency is exempt from public bidding. Unless "supplies" is
construed to include "equipment," however, the lease of heavy equipment needed for rescue operations in case of a calamity
will have to be submitted to public bidding before it can be entered into by the government.
Indeed, the purpose for promulgating E.O. No. 301 was merely to decentralize the system of reviewing negotiated contracts everything except real estate, which may be needed in the transaction of public
of purchase for the furnishing of supplies, materials and equipment as well as lease contracts of buildings. Theretofore, E.O. business, or in the pursuit of any undertaking, project, or activity, whether of the
No. 298, promulgated on August 12, 1940, required consultation with the Secretary of Justice and the Department Head nature of equipment, furniture, stationery, materials for construction, or personal
concerned and the approval of the President of the Philippines before contracts for the furnishing of supplies, materials and property of any sort, including non-personal or contractual services such as the
equipment could be made on a negotiated basis, without public bidding. E.O. No. 301 changed this by providing as follows: repair and maintenance of equipment and furniture, as well as trucking, hauling,
janitorial, security, and related or analogous services.
§2. Jurisdiction over Negotiated Contracts. — In line with the principles of decentralization and
accountability, negotiated contracts for public services or for furnishing supplies, materials or Thus, the texts of both E.O. No. 301, §1 and of P.D. No. 526, §§1 and 12, make it clear that only contracts for the purchase
equipment may be entered into by the department or agency head or the governing board of the and sale of supplies, materials and equipment are contemplated by the rule concerning public biddings.
government-owned or controlled corporation concerned, without need of prior approval by higher
authorities, subject to availability of funds, compliance with the standards or guidelines prescribed in
Section 1 hereof, and to the audit jurisdiction of the commission on Audit in accordance with existing Finally, it is contended that equipment leases are attractive and commonly used in place of contracts of purchase and sale
rules and regulations. because of "multifarious credit and tax constraints" and therefore could not have been left out from the requirement of public
bidding. Obviously these credit and tax constraints can have no attraction to the government when considering the
advantages of sale over lease of equipment. The fact that lease contracts are in common use is not a reason for implying
Negotiated contracts involving P2,000,000 up to P10,000,000 shall be signed by the Secretary and two that the rule on public bidding applies not only to government purchases but also to lease contracts. For the fact also is that
other Undersecretaries. the government leases equipment, such as copying machines, personal computers and the like, without going through public
bidding.
xxx xxx xxx
FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, the motion for reconsideration of petitioners is DENIED with finality.
§7. Jurisdiction Over Lease Contracts. — The heads of agency intending to rent privately-owned
buildings or spaces for their use, or to lease out government-owned buildings or spaces for private use, SO ORDERED
shall have authority to determine the reasonableness of the terms of the lease and the rental rates
thereof, and to enter into such lease contracts without need of prior approval by higher authorities,
subject to compliance with the uniform standards or guidelines established pursuant to Section 6
hereof by the DPWH and to the audit jurisdiction of COA or its duly authorized representative in
accordance with existing rules and regulations.

In sum, E.O. No. 301 applies only to contracts for the purchase of supplies, materials and equipment, and it was merely to
change the system of administrative review of emergency purchases, as theretofore prescribed by E.O. No. 298, that E.O.
No. 301 was issued on July 26, 1987. Part B of this Executive Order applies to leases of buildings, not of equipment, and
therefore does not govern the lease contract in this case. Even if it applies, it does not require public bidding for entering into
it.

Our holding that E.O. No. 301, §1 applies only to contracts of purchase and sale is conformable to P.D. No. 526,
promulgated on August 2, 1974, which is in pari materia. P.D. No. 526 requires local governments to hold public bidding in
the "procurement of supplies." By specifying "procurement of supplies" and excepting from the general rule "purchases"
when made under certain circumstances, P.D. No. 526, §12 indicates quite clearly that it applies only to contracts of
purchase and sale. This provision reads:

§12. Procurement without public bidding. — Procurement of supplies may be made without the benefit
of public bidding in the following modes:

(1) Personal canvass of responsible merchants;

(2) Emergency purchases;

(3) Direct purchases from manufacturers or exclusive distributors;

(4) Thru the Bureau of Supply Coordination; and

(5) Purchase from other government entities or foreign governments.

Sec. 3 broadly defines the term "supplies" as including —


G.R. No. 139465 January 18, 2000 On June 18, 1999, the Department of Justice received from the Department of
Foreign Affairs U.S. Note Verbale No. 0522 containing a request for the extradition
SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, petitioner, of private respondent Mark Jimenez to the United States. Attached to the Note
vs. Verbale were the Grand Jury Indictment, the warrant of arrest issued by the U.S.
HON. RALPH C. LANTION, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court of Manila, District Court, Southern District of Florida, and other supporting documents for said
Branch 25, and MARK B. JIMENEZ, respondents. extradition. Based on the papers submitted, private respondent appears to be charged
in the United States with violation of the following provisions of the United States
MELO, J.: Code (USC):

The individual citizen is but a speck of particle or molecule vis-à-vis the vast and A) 18 USC 371 (Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United
overwhelming powers of government. His only guarantee against oppression and States; two [2] counts; Maximum Penalty — 5 years on each count);
tyranny are his fundamental liberties under the Bill of Rights which shield him in
times of need. The Court is now called to decide whether to uphold a citizen's basic B) 26 USC 7201 (Attempt to evade or defeat tax; four [4] counts; Maximum
due process rights, or the government's ironclad duties under a treaty. The bugle Penalty — 5 years on each count);
sounds and this Court must once again act as the faithful guardian of the fundamental
writ. C) 18 USC 1343 (Fraud by wire, radio, or television; two [2] counts;
Maximum Penalty — 5 years on each count);
The petition at our doorstep is cast against the following factual backdrop:
D) 18 USC 1001 (False statement or entries; six [6] counts; Maximum Penalty
On January 13, 1977, then President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree — 5 years on each count);
No. 1069 "Prescribing the Procedure for the Extradition of Persons Who Have
Committed Crimes in a Foreign Country". The Decree is founded on: the doctrine of E) 2 USC 441f (Election contributions in name of another; thirty-three [33]
incorporation under the Constitution; the mutual concern for the suppression of crime counts; Maximum Penalty — less than one year).
both in the state where it was committed and the state where the criminal may have
escaped; the extradition treaty with the Republic of Indonesia and the intention of the (p. 14, Rollo.)
Philippines to enter into similar treaties with other interested countries; and the need
for rules to guide the executive department and the courts in the proper On the same day, petitioner issued Department Order No. 249 designating and
implementation of said treaties. authorizing a panel of attorneys to take charge of and to handle the case pursuant to
Section 5(1) of Presidential Decree No. 1069. Accordingly, the panel began with the
On November 13, 1994, then Secretary of Justice Franklin M. Drilon, representing "technical evaluation and assessment" of the extradition request and the documents in
the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, signed in Manila the "Extradition support thereof. The panel found that the "official English translation of some
Treaty Between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the documents in Spanish were not attached to the request and that there are some other
Government of the United States of America" (hereinafter referred to as the RP-US matters that needed to be addressed" (p. 15, Rollo).
Extradition Treaty). The Senate, by way of Resolution No. 11, expressed its
concurrence in the ratification of said treaty. It also expressed its concurrence in the Pending evaluation of the aforestated extradition documents, private respondent,
Diplomatic Notes correcting Paragraph (5)(a), Article 7 thereof (on the admissibility through counsel, wrote a letter dated July 1, 1999 addressed to petitioner requesting
of the documents accompanying an extradition request upon certification by the copies of the official extradition request from the U.S. Government, as well as all
principal diplomatic or consular officer of the requested state resident in the documents and papers submitted therewith; and that he be given ample time to
Requesting State). comment on the request after he shall have received copies of the requested papers.
Private respondent also requested that the proceedings on the matter be held in further disclosure of the said information is not authorized by the United
abeyance in the meantime. States District Courts. In this particular extradition request the United States
Government requested the Philippine Government to prevent unauthorized
Later, private respondent requested that preliminary, he be given at least a copy of, or disclosure of the subject information. This Department's denial of your request
access to, the request of the United States Government, and after receiving a copy of is consistent with Article 7 of the RP-US Extradition Treaty which provides
the Diplomatic Note, a period of time to amplify on his request. that the Philippine Government must represent the interests of the United
States in any proceedings arising out of a request for extradition. The
In response to private respondent's July 1, 1999 letter, petitioner, in a reply-letter Department of Justice under P.D. No. 1069 is the counsel of the foreign
dated July 13, 1999 (but received by private respondent only on August 4, 1999), governments in all extradition requests.
denied the foregoing requests for the following reasons:
3. This Department is not in a position to hold in abeyance proceedings in
1. We find it premature to furnish you with copies of the extradition request connection with an extradition request. Article 26 of the Vienna Convention
and supporting documents from the United States Government, pending on the Law of Treaties, to which we are a party provides that "[E]very treaty
evaluation by this Department of the sufficiency of the extradition documents in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in
submitted in accordance with the provisions of the extradition treaty and our good faith". Extradition is a tool of criminal law enforcement and to be
extradition law. Article 7 of the Extradition Treaty between the Philippines effective, requests for extradition or surrender of accused or convicted persons
and the United States enumerates the documentary requirements and must be processed expeditiously.
establishes the procedures under which the documents submitted shall be
received and admitted as evidence. Evidentiary requirements under our (pp. 77-78, Rollo.)
domestic law are also set forth in Section 4 of P.D. No. 1069.
Such was the state of affairs when, on August 6, 1999, private respondent filed with
Evaluation by this Department of the aforementioned documents is not a the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region a petition against the
preliminary investigation nor akin to preliminary investigation of criminal Secretary of Justice, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and the Director of the National
cases. We merely determine whether the procedures and requirements under Bureau of Investigation, for mandamus (to compel herein petitioner to furnish private
the relevant law and treaty have been complied with by the Requesting respondent the extradition documents, to give him access thereto, and to afford him
Government. The constitutionally guaranteed rights of the accused in all an opportunity to comment on, or oppose, the extradition request, and thereafter to
criminal prosecutions are therefore not available. evaluate the request impartially, fairly and objectively); certiorari (to set aside herein
petitioner's letter dated July 13, 1999); and prohibition (to restrain petitioner from
It is only after the filing of the petition for extradition when the person sought considering the extradition request and from filing an extradition petition in court;
to be extradited will be furnished by the court with copies of the petition, and to enjoin the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Director of the NBI from
request and extradition documents and this Department will not pose any performing any act directed to the extradition of private respondent to the United
objection to a request for ample time to evaluate said documents. States), with an application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and a
writ of preliminary injunction (pp. 104-105, Rollo).
2. The formal request for extradition of the United States contains grand jury
information and documents obtained through grand jury process covered by The aforementioned petition was docketed as Civil Case No. 99-94684 and thereafter
strict secrecy rules under United States law. The United States had to secure raffled to Branch 25 of said regional trial court stationed in Manila which is presided
orders from the concerned District Courts authorizing the United States to over by the Honorable Ralph C. Lantion.
disclose certain grand jury information to Philippine government and law
enforcement personnel for the purpose of extradition of Mr. Jimenez. Any
After due notice to the parties, the case was heard on August 9, 1999. Petitioner, who REFUSING PRIVATE RESPONDENT ACCESS TO THE OFFICIAL
appeared in his own behalf, moved that he be given ample time to file a EXTRADITION REQUEST AND DOCUMENTS AND FROM DENYING
memorandum, but the same was denied. PRIVATE RESPONDENT AN OPPORTUNITY TO FILE A COMMENT
ON, OR OPPOSITION TO, THE REQUEST, THE MAIN PRAYER FOR A
On August 10, 1999, respondent judge issued an order dated the previous day, WRIT OF MANDAMUS IN THE PETITION FOR MANDAMUS,
disposing: CERTIORARI AND PROHIBITION WAS, IN EFFECT, GRANTED SO AS
TO CONSTITUTE AN ADJUDICATION ON THE MERITS OF THE
WHEREFORE, this Court hereby Orders the respondents, namely: the MANDAMUS ISSUES;
Secretary of Justice, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Director of the
National Bureau of Investigation, their agents and/or representatives to II.
maintain the status quo by refraining from committing the acts complained of;
from conducting further proceedings in connection with the request of the PETITIONER WAS UNQUALIFIEDLY PREVENTED FROM
United States Government for the extradition of the petitioner; from filing the PERFORMING LEGAL DUTIES UNDER THE EXTRADITION TREATY
corresponding Petition with a Regional Trial court; and from performing any AND THE PHILIPPINE EXTRADITION LAW;
act directed to the extradition of the petitioner to the United States, for a
period of twenty (20) days from service on respondents of this Order, pursuant III.
to Section 5, Rule 58 of the 1997 Rules of Court.
THE PETITION FOR (MANDAMUS), CERTIORARI AND PROHIBITION
The hearing as to whether or not this Court shall issue the preliminary IS, ON ITS FACE, FORMALLY AND SUBSTANTIALLY DEFICIENT;
injunction, as agreed upon by the counsels for the parties herein, is set on AND
August 17, 1999 at 9:00 o'clock in the morning. The respondents are,
likewise, ordered to file their written comment and/or opposition to the IV.
issuance of a Preliminary Injunction on or before said date.
PRIVATE RESPONDENT HAS NO RIGHT IN ESSE THAT NEEDS
SO ORDERED. PROTECTION AND ENFORCEMENT, AND WILL NOT SUFFER ANY
IRREPARABLE INJURY.
(pp. 110-111, Rollo.)
(pp. 19-20, Rollo.)
Forthwith, petitioner initiated the instant proceedings, arguing that:
On August 17, 1999, the Court required private respondent to file his comment. Also
PUBLIC RESPONDENT ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF issued, as prayed for, was a temporary restraining order (TRO) providing:
JURISDICTION OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN ISSUING NOW, THEREFORE, effective immediately and continuing until further
THE TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER BECAUSE: orders from this Court, You, Respondent Judge Ralph C. Lantion, your agents,
representatives or any person or persons acting in your place or stead are
I. hereby ORDERED to CEASE and DESIST from enforcing the assailed order
dated August 9, 1999 issued by public respondent in Civil Case No. 99-94684.
BY ORDERING HEREIN PETITIONER TO REFRAIN FROM
COMMITTING THE ACTS COMPLAINED OF, I.E., TO DESIST FROM
GIVEN by the Honorable HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR., Chief Justice, government." The portions of the Decree relevant to the instant case which involves a
Supreme Court of the Philippines, this 17th day of August 1999. charged and not convicted individual, are abstracted as follows:

(pp. 120-121, Rollo.) The Extradition Request

The case was heard on oral argument on August 31, 1999, after which the parties, as The request is made by the Foreign Diplomat of the Requesting State, addressed to
directed, filed their respective memoranda. the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and shall be accompanied by:

From the pleadings of the opposing parties, both procedural and substantive issues are 1. The original or an authentic copy of the criminal charge and the warrant of
patent. However, a review of these issues as well as the extensive arguments of both arrest issued by the authority of the Requesting State having jurisdiction over
parties, compel us to delineate the focal point raised by the pleadings: During the the matter, or some other instruments having equivalent legal force;
evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings, is private respondent entitled to the
two basic due process rights of notice and hearing? An affirmative answer would 2. A recital of the acts for which extradition is requested, with the fullest
necessarily render the proceedings at the trial court, moot and academic (the issues of particulars as to the name and identity of the accused, his whereabouts in the
which are substantially the same as those before us now), while a negative resolution Philippines, if known, the acts or omissions complained of, and the time and
would call for the immediate lifting of the TRO issued by this Court dated August 24, place of the commission of these acts;
1999, thus allowing petitioner to fast-track the process leading to the filing of the
extradition petition with the proper regional trial court. Corollarily, in the event that 3. The text of the applicable law or a statement of the contents of said law, and
private respondent is adjudged entitled to basic due process rights at the evaluation the designation or description of the offense by the law, sufficient for
stage of the extradition proceedings, would this entitlement constitute a breach of the evaluation of the request; and
legal commitments and obligations of the Philippine Government under the RP-US
Extradition Treaty? And assuming that the result would indeed be a breach, is there 4. Such other documents or information in support of the request.
any conflict between private respondent's basic due process rights and the provisions
of the RP-US Extradition Treaty? (Sec. 4. Presidential Decree No. 1069.)

The issues having transcendental importance, the Court has elected to go directly into Sec. 5 of the Presidential Decree, which sets forth the duty of the Secretary of Foreign
the substantive merits of the case, brushing aside peripheral procedural matters which Affairs, pertinently provides
concern the proceedings in Civil Case No. 99-94684, particularly the propriety of the
filing of the petition therein, and of the issuance of the TRO of August 17, 1999 by . . . (1) Unless it appears to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs that the request
the trial court. fails to meet the requirements of this law and the relevant treaty or
convention, he shall forward the request together with the related documents
To be sure, the issues call for a review of the extradition procedure. The RP-US to the Secretary of Justice, who shall immediately designate and authorize an
Extradition Treaty which was executed only on November 13, 1994, ushered into attorney in his office to take charge of the case.
force the implementing provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1069, also called as the
Philippine Extradition Law. Section 2(a) thereof defines extradition as "the removal The above provision shows only too clearly that the executive authority given the task
of an accused from the Philippines with the object of placing him at the disposal of of evaluating the sufficiency of the request and the supporting documents is the
foreign authorities to enable the requesting state or government to hold him in Secretary of Foreign Affairs. What then is the coverage of this task?
connection with any criminal investigation directed against him or the execution of a
penalty imposed on him under the penal or criminal law of the requesting state or
In accordance with Paragraphs 2 and 3, Article 7 of the RP-US Extradition Treaty, the Requesting State (Embassy Note No. 052 from U. S. Embassy; Embassy Note No.
executive authority must ascertain whether or not the request is supported by: 951309 from the Department of Foreign Affairs).

1. Documents, statements, or other types of information which describe the In this light, Paragraph 3, Article 3 of the Treaty provides that "[e]xtradition shall not
identity and probable location of the person sought; be granted if the executive authority of the Requested State determines that the
request is politically motivated, or that the offense is a military offense which is not
2. A statement of the facts of the offense and the procedural history of the punishable under non-military penal legislation."
case;
The Extradition Petition
3. A statement of the provisions of the law describing the essential elements of
the offense for which extradition is requested; Upon a finding made by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs that the extradition request
and its supporting documents are sufficient and complete in form and substance, he
4. A statement of the provisions of law describing the punishment for the shall deliver the same to the Secretary of Justice, who shall immediately designate
offense; and authorize an attorney in his office to take charge of the case (Paragraph [1],
Section 5, P.D. No. 1069). The lawyer designated shall then file a written petition
5. A statement of the provisions of the law describing any time limit on the with the proper regional trial court of the province or city, with a prayer that the court
prosecution or the execution of punishment for the offense; take the extradition request under consideration (Paragraph [2], ibid.).

6. Documents, statements, or other types of information specified in paragraph The presiding judge of the regional trial court, upon receipt of the petition for
3 or paragraph 4 of said Article, as applicable. extradition, shall, as soon as practicable, issue an order summoning the prospective
extraditee to appear and to answer the petition on the day and hour fixed in the order.
(Paragraph 2, Article 7, Presidential Decree No. 1069.) The judge may issue a warrant of arrest if it appears that the immediate arrest and
temporary detention of the accused will best serve the ends of justice (Paragraph [1],
7. Such evidence as, according to the law of the Requested State, would Section 6, ibid.), particularly to prevent the flight of the prospective extraditee.
provide probable cause for his arrest and committal for trial if the offense had
been committed there; The Extradition Hearing

8. A copy of the warrant or order of arrest issued by a judge or other The Extradition Law does not specifically indicate whether the extradition proceeding
competent authority; and is criminal, civil, or a special proceeding. Nevertheless, Paragraph [1], Section 9
thereof provides that in the hearing of the extradition petition, the provisions of the
9. A copy of the charging document. Rules of Court, insofar as practicable and not inconsistent with the summary nature of
the proceedings, shall apply. During the hearing, Section 8 of the Decree provides
(Paragraph 3, ibid.) that the attorney having charge of the case may, upon application by the Requesting
State, represent the latter throughout the proceedings.
The executive authority (Secretary of Foreign Affairs) must also see to it that the
accompanying documents received in support of the request had been certified by the Upon conclusion of the hearing, the court shall render a decision granting the
principal diplomatic or consular officer of the Requested State resident in the extradition and giving the reasons therefor upon a showing of the existence of a prima
facie case, or dismiss the petition (Section 10, ibid.). Said decision is appealable to
the Court of Appeals, whose decision shall be final and immediately executory
(Section 12, ibid.). The provisions of the Rules of Court governing appeal in criminal Department also had to go over them so as to be able to prepare an extradition
cases in the Court of Appeals shall apply in the aforementioned appeal, except for the petition (tsn, August 31, 1999, pp. 24-25). Notably, it was also at this stage where
required 15-day period to file brief (Section 13, ibid.). private respondent insisted on the following; (1) the right to be furnished the request
and the supporting papers; (2) the right to be heard which consists in having a
The trial court determines whether or not the offense mentioned in the petition is reasonable period of time to oppose the request, and to present evidence in support of
extraditable based on the application of the dual criminality rule and other conditions the opposition; and (3) that the evaluation proceedings be held in abeyance pending
mentioned in Article 2 of the RP-US Extradition Treaty. The trial court also the filing of private respondent's opposition to the request.
determines whether or not the offense for which extradition is requested is a political
one (Paragraph [1], Article 3, RP-US Extradition Treaty).1âwphi1.nêt The two Departments seem to have misread the scope of their duties and authority,
one abdicating its powers and the other enlarging its commission. The Department of
With the foregoing abstract of the extradition proceedings as backdrop, the following Foreign Affairs, moreover, has, through the Solicitor General, filed a manifestation
query presents itself: What is the nature of the role of the Department of Justice at the that it is adopting the instant petition as its own, indirectly conveying the message
evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings? that if it were to evaluate the extradition request, it would not allow private
respondent to participate in the process of evaluation.
A strict observance of the Extradition Law indicates that the only duty of the
Secretary of Justice is to file the extradition petition after the request and all the Plainly then, the record cannot support the presumption of regularity that the
supporting papers are forwarded to him by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. It is the Department of Foreign Affairs thoroughly reviewed the extradition request and
latter official who is authorized to evaluate the extradition papers, to assure their supporting documents and that it arrived at a well-founded judgment that the request
sufficiency, and under Paragraph [3], Article 3 of the Treaty, to determine whether or and its annexed documents satisfy the requirements of law. The Secretary of Justice,
not the request is politically motivated, or that the offense is a military offense which eminent as he is in the field of law, could not privately review the papers all by
is not punishable under non-military penal legislation. Ipso facto, as expressly himself. He had to officially constitute a panel of attorneys. How then could the DFA
provided in Paragraph [1], Section 5 of the Extradition Law, the Secretary of Justice Secretary or his undersecretary, in less than one day, make the more authoritative
has the ministerial duty of filing the extradition papers. determination?

However, looking at the factual milieu of the case before us, it would appear that The evaluation process, just like the extradition proceedings proper, belongs to a class
there was failure to abide by the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1069. For by itself. It is sui generis. It is not a criminal investigation, but it is also erroneous to
while it is true that the extradition request was delivered to the Department of Foreign say that it is purely an exercise of ministerial functions. At such stage, the executive
Affairs on June 17, 1999, the following day or less than 24 hours later, the authority has the power: (a) to make a technical assessment of the completeness and
Department of Justice received the request, apparently without the Department of sufficiency of the extradition papers; (b) to outrightly deny the request if on its face
Foreign Affairs discharging its duty of thoroughly evaluating the same and its and on the face of the supporting documents the crimes indicated are not extraditable;
accompanying documents. The statement of an assistant secretary at the Department and (c) to make a determination whether or not the request is politically motivated, or
of Foreign Affairs that his Department, in this regard, is merely acting as a post that the offense is a military one which is not punishable under non-military penal
office, for which reason he simply forwarded the request to the Department of Justice, legislation (tsn, August 31, 1999, pp. 28-29; Article 2 & and Paragraph [3], Article 3,
indicates the magnitude of the error of the Department of Foreign Affairs in taking RP-US Extradition Treaty). Hence, said process may be characterized as an
lightly its responsibilities. Thereafter, the Department of Justice took it upon itself to investigative or inquisitorial process in contrast to a proceeding conducted in the
determine the completeness of the documents and to evaluate the same to find out exercise of an administrative body's quasi-judicial power.
whether they comply with the requirements laid down in the Extradition Law and the
RP-US Extradition Treaty. Petitioner ratiocinates in this connection that although the In administrative law, a quasi-judicial proceeding involves: (a) taking and evaluation
Department of Justice had no obligation to evaluate the extradition documents, the of evidence; (b) determining facts based upon the evidence presented; and (c)
rendering an order or decision supported by the facts proved (De Leon, It is to be noted, however, that in contrast to ordinary investigations, the evaluation
Administrative Law: Text and Cases, 1993 ed., p. 198, citing Morgan vs. United procedure is characterized by certain peculiarities. Primarily, it sets into motion the
States, 304 U.S. 1). Inquisitorial power, which is also known as examining or wheels of the extradition process. Ultimately, it may result in the deprivation of
investigatory power, is one or the determinative powers of an administrative body liberty of the prospective extraditee. This deprivation can be effected at two stages:
which better enables it to exercise its quasi-judicial authority (Cruz, Phil. First, the provisional arrest of the prospective extraditee pending the submission of
Administrative Law, 1996 ed., p. 26). This power allows the administrative body to the request. This is so because the Treaty provides that in case of urgency, a
inspect the records and premises, and investigate the activities, of persons or entities contracting party may request the provisional arrest of the person sought pending
coming under its jurisdiction (Ibid., p. 27), or to require disclosure of information by presentation of the request (Paragraph [1], Article 9, RP-US Extradition Treaty), but
means or accounts, records, reports, testimony of witnesses, production of documents, he shall be automatically discharged after 60 days if no request is submitted
or otherwise (De Leon, op. cit., p. 64). (Paragraph 4). Presidential Decree No. 1069 provides for a shorter period of 20 days
after which the arrested person could be discharged (Section 20[d]). Logically,
The power of investigation consists in gathering, organizing, and analyzing evidence, although the Extradition Law is silent on this respect, the provisions only mean that
which is a useful aid or tool in an administrative agency's performance of its rule- once a request is forwarded to the Requested State, the prospective extraditee may be
making or quasi-judicial functions. Notably, investigation is indispensable to continuously detained, or if not, subsequently rearrested (Paragraph [5], Article 9,
prosecution. RP-US Extradition Treaty), for he will only be discharged if no request is submitted.
Practically, the purpose of this detention is to prevent his possible flight from the
In Ruperto v. Torres (100 Phil. 1098 [1957], unreported), the Court had occasion to Requested State. Second, the temporary arrest of the prospective extraditee during the
rule on the functions of an investigatory body with the sole power of investigation. It pendency of the extradition petition in court (Section 6, Presidential Decree No.
does not exercise judicial functions and its power is limited to investigating the facts 1069).
and making findings in respect thereto. The Court laid down the test of determining
whether an administrative body is exercising judicial functions or merely Clearly, there is an impending threat to a prospective extraditee's liberty as early as
investigatory functions: Adjudication signifies the exercise of power and authority to during the evaluation stage. It is not only an imagined threat to his liberty, but a very
adjudicate upon the rights and obligations of the parties before it. Hence, if the only imminent one.
purpose for investigation is to evaluate evidence submitted before it based on the
facts and circumstances presented to it, and if the agency is not authorized to make a Because of these possible consequences, we conclude that the evaluation process is
final pronouncement affecting the parties, then there is an absence of judicial akin to an administrative agency conducting an investigative proceeding, the
discretion and judgment. consequences of which are essentially criminal since such technical assessment sets
off or commences the procedure for, and ultimately, the deprivation of liberty of a
The above description in Ruperto applies to an administrative body authorized to prospective extraditee. As described by petitioner himself, this is a "tool" for criminal
evaluate extradition documents. The body has no power to adjudicate in regard to the law enforcement (p. 78, Rollo). In essence, therefore, the evaluation process partakes
rights and obligations of both the Requesting State and the prospective extraditee. Its of the nature of a criminal investigation. In a number of cases, we had occasion to
only power is to determine whether the papers comply with the requirements of the make available to a respondent in an administrative case or investigation certain
law and the treaty and, therefore, sufficient to be the basis of an extradition petition. constitutional rights that are ordinarily available only in criminal prosecutions.
Such finding is thus merely initial and not final. The body has no power to determine Further, as pointed out by Mr. Justice Mendoza during the oral arguments, there are
whether or not the extradition should be effected. That is the role of the court. The rights formerly available only at the trial stage that had been advanced to an earlier
body's power is limited to an initial finding of whether or not the extradition petition stage in the proceedings, such as the right to counsel and the right against self-
can be filed in court. incrimination (tsn, August 31, 1999, p. 135; Escobedo vs. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478;
Gideon vs. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335; Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436).
In Pascual v. Board of Medical Examiners (28 SCRA 344 [1969]), we held that the Petitioner's reliance on Wright vs. Court of Appeals (235 SCRA 241 [1992]) (p. 8,
right against self-incrimination under Section 17, Article III of the 1987 Constitution petitioner's Memorandum) that the extradition treaty is neither a piece of criminal
which is ordinarily available only in criminal prosecutions, extends to administrative legislation nor a criminal procedural statute is not well-taken. Wright is not authority
proceedings which possess a criminal or penal aspect, such as an administrative for petitioner's conclusion that his preliminary processing is not akin to a preliminary
investigation of a licensed physician who is charged with immorality, which could investigation. The characterization of a treaty in Wright was in reference to the
result in his loss of the privilege to practice medicine if found guilty. The Court, applicability of the prohibition against an ex post facto law. It had nothing to do with
citing the earlier case of Cabal vs. Kapunan (6 SCRA 1059 [1962]), pointed out that the denial of the right to notice, information, and hearing.
the revocation of one's license as a medical practitioner, is an even greater deprivation
than forfeiture of property. As early as 1884, the United States Supreme Court ruled that "any legal proceeding
enforced by public authority, whether sanctioned by age or custom, or newly devised
Cabal vs. Kapunan (supra) involved an administrative charge of unexplained wealth in the discretion of the legislative power, in furtherance of the general public good,
against a respondent which was filed under Republic Act No. 1379, or the Anti-Graft which regards and preserved these principles of liberty and justice, must be held to be
Law. Again, we therein ruled that since the investigation may result in forfeiture of due process of law" (Hurtado vs. California, 110 U.S. 516). Compliance with due
property, the administrative proceedings are deemed criminal or penal, and such process requirements cannot be deemed non-compliance with treaty commitments.
forfeiture partakes the nature of a penalty. There is also the earlier case of Almeda, Sr.
vs. Perez (5 SCRA 970 [1962]), where the Court, citing American jurisprudence, laid The United States and the Philippines share a mutual concern about the suppression
down the test to determine whether a proceeding is civil or criminal: If the proceeding and punishment of crime in their respective jurisdictions. At the same time, both
is under a statute such that if an indictment is presented the forfeiture can be included States accord common due process protection to their respective citizens.
in the criminal case, such proceeding is criminal in nature, although it may be civil in
form; and where it must be gathered from the statute that the action is meant to be The due process clauses in the American and Philippine Constitutions are not only
criminal in its nature, it cannot be considered as civil. If, however, the proceeding worded in exactly identical language and terminology, but more importantly, they are
does not involve the conviction of the wrongdoer for the offense charged, the alike in what their respective Supreme Courts have expounded as the spirit with
proceeding is civil in nature. which the provisions are informed and impressed, the elasticity in their interpretation,
their dynamic and resilient character which make them capable of meeting every
The cases mentioned above refer to an impending threat of deprivation of one's modern problem, and their having been designed from earliest time to the present to
property or property right. No less is this true, but even more so in the case before us, meet the exigencies of an undefined and expanding future. The requirements of due
involving as it does the possible deprivation of liberty, which, based on the hierarchy process are interpreted in both the United States and the Philippines as not denying to
of constitutionally protected rights, is placed second only to life itself and enjoys the law the capacity for progress and improvement. Toward this effect and in order to
precedence over property, for while forfeited property can be returned or replaced, the avoid the confines of a legal straitjacket, the courts instead prefer to have the meaning
time spent in incarceration is irretrievable and beyond recompense. of the due process clause "gradually ascertained by the process of inclusion and
exclusion in the course of the decisions of cases as they arise" (Twining vs. New
By comparison, a favorable action in an extradition request exposes a person to Jersey, 211 U.S. 78). Capsulized, it refers to "the embodiment of the sporting idea of
eventual extradition to a foreign country, thus saliently exhibiting the criminal or fair play" (Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Owner's Association vs. City Mayor of
penal aspect of the process. In this sense, the evaluation procedure is akin to a Manila, 20 SCRA 849 [1967]). It relates to certain immutable principles of justice
preliminary investigation since both procedures may have the same result — the which inhere in the very idea of free government (Holden vs. Hardy, 169 U.S. 366).
arrest and imprisonment of the respondent or the person charged. Similar to the
evaluation stage of extradition proceedings, a preliminary investigation, which may Due process is comprised of two components — substantive due process which
result in the filing of an information against the respondent, can possibly lead to his requires the intrinsic validity of the law in interfering with the rights of the person to
arrest, and to the deprivation of his liberty. his life, liberty, or property, and procedural due process which consists of the two
basic rights of notice and hearing, as well as the guarantee of being heard by an Applying the above principles to the case at bar, the query may be asked: Does the
impartial and competent tribunal (Cruz, Constitutional Law, 1993 Ed., pp. 102-106). evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings fall under any of the described
situations mentioned above?
True to the mandate of the due process clause, the basic rights of notice and hearing
pervade not only in criminal and civil proceedings, but in administrative proceedings Let us take a brief look at the nature of American extradition proceedings which are
as well. Non-observance of these rights will invalidate the proceedings. Individuals quite noteworthy considering that the subject treaty involves the U.S. Government.
are entitled to be notified of any pending case affecting their interests, and upon
notice, they may claim the right to appear therein and present their side and to refute American jurisprudence distinguishes between interstate rendition or extradition
the position of the opposing parties (Cruz, Phil. Administrative Law, 1996 ed., p. 64). which is based on the Extradition Clause in the U.S. Constitution (Art. IV, §2 cl 2),
and international extradition proceedings. In interstate rendition or extradition, the
In a preliminary investigation which is an administrative investigatory proceeding, governor of the asylum state has the duty to deliver the fugitive to the demanding
Section 3, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court guarantees the respondent's basic due state. The Extradition Clause and the implementing statute are given a liberal
process rights, granting him the right to be furnished a copy of the complaint, the construction to carry out their manifest purpose, which is to effect the return as
affidavits, and other supporting documents, and the right to submit counter-affidavits swiftly as possible of persons for trial to the state in which they have been charged
and other supporting documents within ten days from receipt thereof. Moreover, the with crime (31A Am Jur 2d 754-755). In order to achieve extradition of an alleged
respondent shall have the right to examine all other evidence submitted by the fugitive, the requisition papers or the demand must be in proper form, and all the
complainant. elements or jurisdictional facts essential to the extradition must appear on the face of
the papers, such as the allegation that the person demanded was in the demanding
These twin rights may, however, be considered dispensable in certain instances, such state at the time the offense charged was committed, and that the person demanded is
as: charged with the commission of the crime or that prosecution has been begun in the
demanding state before some court or magistrate (35 C.J.S. 406-407). The extradition
1. In proceeding where there is an urgent need for immediate action, like the documents are then filed with the governor of the asylum state, and must contain such
summary abatement of a nuisance per se (Article 704, Civil Code), the papers and documents prescribed by statute, which essentially include a copy of the
preventive suspension of a public servant facing administrative charges instrument charging the person demanded with a crime, such as an indictment or an
(Section 63, Local Government Code, B.P. Blg. 337), the padlocking of filthy affidavit made before a magistrate. Statutory requirements with respect to said
restaurants or theaters showing obscene movies or like establishments which charging instrument or papers are mandatory since said papers are necessary in order
are immediate threats to public health and decency, and the cancellation of a to confer jurisdiction on the government of the asylum state to effect extradition (35
passport of a person sought for criminal prosecution; C.J.S. 408-410). A statutory provision requiring duplicate copies of the indictment,
information, affidavit, or judgment of conviction or sentence and other instruments
2. Where there is tentativeness of administrative action, that is, where the accompanying the demand or requisitions be furnished and delivered to the fugitive
respondent is not precluded from enjoying the right to notice and hearing at a or his attorney is directory. However, the right being such a basic one has been held
later time without prejudice to the person affected, such as the summary to be a right mandatory on demand (Ibid., p. 410, citing Ex parte Moore, 256 S.W. 2d
distraint and levy of the property of a delinquent taxpayer, and the 103, 158 Tex. Cr. 407 and Ex parte Tucker, Cr., 324, S.W.2d 853).
replacement of a temporary appointee; and
In international proceedings, extradition treaties generally provide for the presentation
3. Where the twin rights have previously been offered but the right to exercise to the executive authority of the Requested State of a requisition or demand for the
them had not been claimed. return of the alleged offender, and the designation of the particular officer having
authority to act in behalf of the demanding nation (31A Am Jur 2d 815).
In petitioner's memorandum filed on September 15, 1999, he attached thereto a letter decisions pronounce that international extradition proceedings partake of the
dated September 13, 1999 from the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of character of a preliminary examination before a committing magistrate, rather
Justice, summarizing the U.S. extradition procedures and principles, which are than a trial of the guilt or innocence of the alleged fugitive (31A Am Jur 2d
basically governed by a combination of treaties (with special reference to the RP-US 826).]
Extradition Treaty), federal statutes, and judicial decisions, to wit:
6. If the court decides that the elements necessary for extradition are present,
1. All requests for extradition are transmitted through the diplomatic channel. it incorporates its determinations in factual findings and conclusions of law
In urgent cases, requests for the provincial arrest of an individual may be and certifies the person's extraditability. The court then forwards this
made directly by the Philippine Department of Justice to the U.S. Department certification of extraditability to the Department of State for disposition by the
of Justice, and vice-versa. In the event of a provisional arrest, a formal request Secretary of State. The ultimate decision whether to surrender an individual
for extradition is transmitted subsequently through the diplomatic channel. rests with the Secretary of State (18 U.S.C. §3186).

2. The Department of State forwards the incoming Philippine extradition 7. The subject of an extradition request may not litigate questions concerning
request to the Department of Justice. Before doing so, the Department of State the motives of the requesting government in seeking his extradition. However,
prepares a declaration confirming that a formal request has been made, that a person facing extradition may present whatever information he deems
the treaty is in full force and effect, that under Article 17 thereof the parties relevant to the Secretary of State, who makes the final determination whether
provide reciprocal legal representation in extradition proceedings, that the to surrender an individual to the foreign government concerned.
offenses are covered as extraditable offenses under Article 2 thereof, and that
the documents have been authenticated in accordance with the federal statute From the foregoing, it may be observed that in the United States, extradition begins
that ensures admissibility at any subsequent extradition hearing. and ends with one entity — the Department of State — which has the power to
evaluate the request and the extradition documents in the beginning, and, in the
3. A judge or magistrate judge is authorized to issue a warrant for the arrest of person of the Secretary of State, the power to act or not to act on the court's
the prospective extraditee (18 U.S.C. §3184). Said judge or magistrate is determination of extraditability. In the Philippine setting, it is the Department of
authorized to hold a hearing to consider the evidence offered in support of the Foreign Affairs which should make the initial evaluation of the request, and having
extradition request (Ibid.) satisfied itself on the points earlier mentioned (see pp. 10-12), then forwards the
request to the Department of Justice for the preparation and filing of the petition for
4. At the hearing, the court must determine whether the person arrested is extradition. Sadly, however, the Department of Foreign Affairs, in the instant case,
extraditable to the foreign country. The court must also determine that (a) it perfunctorily turned over the request to the Department of Justice which has taken
has jurisdiction over the defendant and jurisdiction to conduct the hearing; (b) over the task of evaluating the request as well as thereafter, if so warranted,
the defendant is being sought for offenses for which the applicable treaty preparing, filing, and prosecuting the petition for extradition.
permits extradition; and (c) there is probable cause to believe that the
defendant is the person sought and that he committed the offenses charged Private respondent asks what prejudice will be caused to the U.S. Government should
(Ibid.) the person sought to be extradited be given due process rights by the Philippines in
the evaluation stage. He emphasizes that petitioner's primary concern is the possible
5. The judge or magistrate judge is vested with jurisdiction to certify delay in the evaluation process.
extraditability after having received a "complaint made under oath, charging
any person found within his jurisdiction" with having committed any of the We agree with private respondent's citation of an American Supreme Court ruling:
crimes provided for by the governing treaty in the country requesting
extradition (Ibid.) [In this regard, it is noted that a long line of American
The establishment of prompt efficacious procedures to achieve legitimate state does not mean precipitous haste. It does not carry a disregard of the basic principles
ends is a proper state interest worthy of cognizance in constitutional inherent in "ordered liberty."
adjudication. But the Constitution recognizes higher values than speed and
efficiency. Indeed, one might fairly say of the Bill of Rights in general, and the Is there really an urgent need for immediate action at the evaluation stage? At that
Due Process Clause, in particular, that they were designed to protect the point, there is no extraditee yet in the strict sense of the word. Extradition may or may
fragile values of a vulnerable citizenry from the overbearing concern for not occur. In interstate extradition, the governor of the asylum state may not, in the
efficiency and efficacy that may characterize praiseworthy government absence of mandatory statute, be compelled to act favorably (37 C.J.S. 387) since
officials no less, and perhaps more, than mediocre ones. after a close evaluation of the extradition papers, he may hold that federal and
statutory requirements, which are significantly jurisdictional, have not been met (31
(Stanley vs. Illinois, 404 U.S. 645, 656) Am Jur 2d 819). Similarly, under an extradition treaty, the executive authority of the
requested state has the power to deny the behest from the requesting state.
The United States, no doubt, shares the same interest as the Philippine Government Accordingly, if after a careful examination of the extradition documents the Secretary
that no right — that of liberty — secured not only by the Bills of Rights of the of Foreign Affairs finds that the request fails to meet the requirements of the law and
Philippines Constitution but of the United States as well, is sacrificed at the altar of the treaty, he shall not forward the request to the Department of Justice for the filing
expediency. of the extradition petition since non-compliance with the aforesaid requirements will
not vest our government with jurisdiction to effect the extradition.
(pp. 40-41, Private Respondent's Memorandum.)
In this light, it should be observed that the Department of Justice exerted notable
In the Philippine context, this Court's ruling is invoked: efforts in assuring compliance with the requirements of the law and the treaty since it
even informed the U.S. Government of certain problems in the extradition papers
One of the basic principles of the democratic system is that where the rights of (such as those that are in Spanish and without the official English translation, and
the individual are concerned, the end does not justify the means. It is not those that are not properly authenticated). In fact, petitioner even admits that
enough that there be a valid objective; it is also necessary that the means consultation meetings are still supposed to take place between the lawyers in his
employed to pursue it be in keeping with the Constitution. Mere expediency Department and those from the U.S. Justice Department. With the meticulous nature
will not excuse constitutional shortcuts. There is no question that not even the of the evaluation, which cannot just be completed in an abbreviated period of time
strongest moral conviction or the most urgent public need, subject only to a due to its intricacies, how then can we say that it is a proceeding that urgently
few notable exceptions, will excuse the bypassing of an individual's rights. It necessitates immediate and prompt action where notice and hearing can be dispensed
is no exaggeration to say that a person invoking a right guaranteed under with?
Article III of the Constitution is a majority of one even as against the rest of
the nation who would deny him that right (Association of Small Landowners Worthy of inquiry is the issue of whether or not there is tentativeness of
in the Philippines, Inc. vs. Secretary of Agrarian Reform, 175 SCRA 343, administrative action. Is private respondent precluded from enjoying the right to
375-376 [1989]). notice and hearing at a later time without prejudice to him? Here lies the peculiarity
and deviant characteristic of the evaluation procedure. On one hand there is yet no
There can be no dispute over petitioner's argument that extradition is a tool of extraditee, but ironically on the other, it results in an administrative if adverse to the
criminal law enforcement. To be effective, requests for extradition or the surrender of person involved, may cause his immediate incarceration. The grant of the request
accused or convicted persons must be processed expeditiously. Nevertheless, shall lead to the filing of the extradition petition in court. The "accused" (as Section
accelerated or fast-tracked proceedings and adherence to fair procedures are, 2[c] of Presidential Decree No. 1069 calls him), faces the threat of arrest, not only
however, not always incompatible. They do not always clash in discord. Summary after the extradition petition is filed in court, but even during the evaluation
proceeding itself by virtue of the provisional arrest allowed under the treaty and the because such matters arouse the interest of an ordinary citizen (Legaspi v. Civil
implementing law. The prejudice to the "accused" is thus blatant and manifest. Service Commission, 150 SCRA 530 [1987]). Hence, the real party in interest is the
people and any citizen has "standing".
Plainly, the notice and hearing requirements of administrative due process cannot be
dispensed with and shelved aside. When the individual himself is involved in official government action because said
action has a direct bearing on his life, and may either cause him some kind of
Apart from the due process clause of the Constitution, private respondent likewise deprivation or injury, he actually invokes the basic right to be notified under Section
invokes Section 7 of Article III which reads: 1 of the Bill of Rights and not exactly the right to information on matters of public
concern. As to an accused in a criminal proceeding, he invokes Section 14,
Sec. 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern particularly the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against
shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers him.
pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government
research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the The right to information is implemented by the right of access to information within
citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. the control of the government (Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the
Philippines, 1996 ed., p. 337). Such information may be contained in official records,
The above provision guarantees political rights which are available to citizens of the and in documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions.
Philippines, namely: (1) the right to information on matters of public concern, and (2)
the corollary right of access to official records documents. The general right In the case at bar, the papers requested by private respondent pertain to official
guaranteed by said provision is the right to information on matters of public concern. government action from the U.S. Government. No official action from our country
In its implementation, the right of access to official records is likewise conferred. has yet been taken. Moreover, the papers have some relation to matters of foreign
These cognate or related rights are "subject to limitations as may be provided by law" relations with the U.S. Government. Consequently, if a third party invokes this
(Bernas, The 1987 Phil. Constitution A Reviewer-Primer, 1997 ed., p. 104) and rely constitutional provision, stating that the extradition papers are matters of public
on the premise that ultimately it is an informed and critical public opinion which concern since they may result in the extradition of a Filipino, we are afraid that the
alone can protect the values of democratic government (Ibid.). balance must be tilted, at such particular time, in favor of the interests necessary for
the proper functioning of the government. During the evaluation procedure, no
Petitioner argues that the matters covered by private respondent's letter-request dated official governmental action of our own government has as yet been done; hence the
July 1, 1999 do not fall under the guarantee of the foregoing provision since the invocation of the right is premature. Later, and in contrast, records of the extradition
matters contained in the documents requested are not of public concern. On the other hearing would already fall under matters of public concern, because our government
hand, private respondent argues that the distinction between matters vested with by then shall have already made an official decision to grant the extradition request.
public interest and matters which are of purely private interest only becomes material The extradition of a fellow Filipino would be forthcoming.
when a third person, who is not directly affected by the matters requested, invokes the
right to information. However, if the person invoking the right is the one directly We now pass upon the final issue pertinent to the subject matter of the instant
affected thereby, his right to information becomes absolute. controversy: Would private respondent's entitlement to notice and hearing during the
evaluation stage of the proceedings constitute a breach of the legal duties of the
The concept of matters of public concerns escapes exact definition. Strictly speaking, Philippine Government under the RP-Extradition Treaty? Assuming the answer is in
every act of a public officer in the conduct of the governmental process is a matter of the affirmative, is there really a conflict between the treaty and the due process clause
public concern (Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, in the Constitution?
1996 ed., p. 336). This concept embraces a broad spectrum of subjects which the
public may want to know, either because these directly affect their lives or simply
First and foremost, let us categorically say that this is not the proper time to pass upon In the case at bar, is there really a conflict between international law and municipal or
the constitutionality of the provisions of the RP-US Extradition Treaty nor the national law? En contrario, these two components of the law of the land are not pined
Extradition Law implementing the same. We limit ourselves only to the effect of the against each other. There is no occasion to choose which of the two should be upheld.
grant of the basic rights of notice and hearing to private respondent on foreign Instead, we see a void in the provisions of the RP-US Extradition Treaty, as
relations. implemented by Presidential Decree No. 1069, as regards the basic due process rights
of a prospective extraditee at the evaluation stage of extradition proceedings. From
The rule of pacta sunt servanda, one of the oldest and most fundamental maxims of the procedures earlier abstracted, after the filing of the extradition petition and during
international law, requires the parties to a treaty to keep their agreement therein in the judicial determination of the propriety of extradition, the rights of notice and
good faith. The observance of our country's legal duties under a treaty is also hearing are clearly granted to the prospective extraditee. However, prior thereto, the
compelled by Section 2, Article II of the Constitution which provides that "[t]he law is silent as to these rights. Reference to the U.S. extradition procedures also
Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally manifests this silence.
accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, and adheres to
the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity with nations." Petitioner interprets this silence as unavailability of these rights. Consequently, he
Under the doctrine of incorporation, rules of international law form part of the law of describes the evaluation procedure as an "ex parte technical assessment" of the
the and land no further legislative action is needed to make such rules applicable in sufficiency of the extradition request and the supporting documents.
the domestic sphere (Salonga & Yap, Public International Law, 1992 ed., p. 12).
We disagree.
The doctrine of incorporation is applied whenever municipal tribunals (or local
courts) are confronted with situations in which there appears to be a conflict between In the absence of a law or principle of law, we must apply the rules of fair play. An
a rule of international law and the provisions of the constitution or statute of the local application of the basic twin due process rights of notice and hearing will not go
state. Efforts should first be exerted to harmonize them, so as to give effect to both against the treaty or the implementing law. Neither the Treaty nor the Extradition
since it is to be presumed that municipal law was enacted with proper regard for the Law precludes these rights from a prospective extraditee. Similarly, American
generally accepted principles of international law in observance of the observance of jurisprudence and procedures on extradition pose no proscription. In fact, in interstate
the Incorporation Clause in the above-cited constitutional provision (Cruz, Philippine extradition proceedings as explained above, the prospective extraditee may even
Political Law, 1996 ed., p. 55). In a situation, however, where the conflict is request for copies of the extradition documents from the governor of the asylum state,
irreconcilable and a choice has to be made between a rule of international law and and if he does, his right to be supplied the same becomes a demandable right (35
municipal law, jurisprudence dictates that municipal law should be upheld by the C.J.S. 410).
municipal courts (Ichong vs. Hernandez, 101 Phil. 1155 [1957]; Gonzales vs.
Hechanova, 9 SCRA 230 [1963]; In re: Garcia, 2 SCRA 984 [1961]) for the reason Petitioner contends that the United States requested the Philippine Government to
that such courts are organs of municipal law and are accordingly bound by it in all prevent unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. Hence, the secrecy
circumstances (Salonga & Yap, op. cit., p. 13). The fact that international law has surrounding the action of the Department of Justice Panel of Attorneys. The
been made part of the law of the land does not pertain to or imply the primacy of confidentiality argument is, however, overturned by petitioner's revelation that
international law over national or municipal law in the municipal sphere. The doctrine everything it refuses to make available at this stage would be obtainable during trial.
of incorporation, as applied in most countries, decrees that rules of international law The Department of Justice states that the U.S. District Court concerned has authorized
are given equal standing with, but are not superior to, national legislative enactments. the disclosure of certain grand jury information. If the information is truly
Accordingly, the principle lex posterior derogat priori takes effect — a treaty may confidential, the veil of secrecy cannot be lifted at any stage of the extradition
repeal a statute and a statute may repeal a treaty. In states where the constitution is the proceedings. Not even during trial.
highest law of the land, such as the Republic of the Philippines, both statutes and
treaties may be invalidated if they are in conflict with the constitution (Ibid.). A libertarian approach is thus called for under the premises.
One will search in vain the RP-US Extradition Treaty, the Extradition Law, as well as under the Extradition Treaty are insubstantial and should not be given paramount
American jurisprudence and procedures on extradition, for any prohibition against the consideration.
conferment of the two basic due process rights of notice and hearing during the
evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings. We have to consider similar situations How then do we implement the RP-US Extradition Treaty? Do we limit ourselves to
in jurisprudence for an application by analogy. the four corners of Presidential Decree No. 1069?

Earlier, we stated that there are similarities between the evaluation process and a Of analogous application are the rulings in Government Service Insurance System vs.
preliminary investigation since both procedures may result in the arrest of the Court of Appeals (201 SCRA 661 [1991]) and Go vs. National Police Commission
respondent or the prospective extraditee. In the evaluation process, a provisional (271 SCRA 447 [1997]) where we ruled that in summary proceedings under
arrest is even allowed by the Treaty and the Extradition Law (Article 9, RP-US Presidential Decree No. 807 (Providing for the Organization of the Civil Service
Extradition Treaty; Sec. 20, Presidential Decree No. 1069). Following petitioner's Commission in Accordance with Provisions of the Constitution, Prescribing its
theory, because there is no provision of its availability, does this imply that for a Powers and Functions and for Other Purposes), and Presidential Decree No. 971
period of time, the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended, despite (Providing Legal Assistance for Members of the Integrated National Police who may
Section 15, Article III of the Constitution which states that "[t]he privilege of the writ be charged for Service-Connected Offenses and Improving the Disciplinary System in
or habeas corpus shall not be suspended except in cases of invasion or rebellion when the Integrated National Police, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for other purposes),
the public safety requires it"? Petitioner's theory would also infer that bail is not as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1707, although summary dismissals may be
available during the arrest of the prospective extraditee when the extradition petition effected without the necessity of a formal investigation, the minimum requirements of
has already been filed in court since Presidential Decree No. 1069 does not provide due process still operate. As held in GSIS vs. Court of Appeals:
therefor, notwithstanding Section 13, Article III of the Constitution which provides
that "[a]ll persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion . . . [I]t is clear to us that what the opening sentence of Section 40 is saying is
perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by that an employee may be removed or dismissed even without formal
sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The investigation, in certain instances. It is equally clear to us that an employee
right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas must be informed of the charges preferred against him, and that the normal
corpus is suspended. . ." Can petitioner validly argue that since these contraventions way by which the employee is so informed is by furnishing him with a copy
are by virtue of a treaty and hence affecting foreign relations, the aforestated of the charges against him. This is a basic procedural requirement that a
guarantees in the Bill of Rights could thus be subservient thereto? statute cannot dispense with and still remain consistent with the constitutional
provision on due process. The second minimum requirement is that the
The basic principles of administrative law instruct us that "the essence of due process employee charged with some misfeasance or malfeasance must have a
in administrative proceeding is an opportunity to explain one's side or an opportunity reasonable opportunity to present his side of the matter, that is to say, his
to seek reconsideration of the actions or ruling complained of (Mirano vs. NLRC, 270 defenses against the charges levelled against him and to present evidence in
SCRA 96 [1997]; Padilla vs. NLRC, 273 SCRA 457 [1997]; PLDT vs. NLRC, 276 support of his defenses. . . .
SCRA 1 [1997]; Helpmate, Inc. vs. NLRC, 276 SCRA 315 [1997]; Aquinas School
vs. Magnaye, 278 SCRA 602 [1997]; Jamer vs. NLRC, 278 SCRA 632 [1997]). In (at p. 671)
essence, procedural due process refers to the method or manner by which the law is
enforced (Corona vs. United Harbor Pilots Association of the Phils., 283 SCRA 31 Said summary dismissal proceedings are also non-litigious in nature, yet we upheld
[1997]). This Court will not tolerate the least disregard of constitutional guarantees in the due process rights of the respondent.
the enforcement of a law or treaty. Petitioner's fears that the Requesting State may
have valid objections to the Requested State's non-performance of its commitments In the case at bar, private respondent does not only face a clear and present danger of
loss of property or employment, but of liberty itself, which may eventually lead to his
forcible banishment to a foreign land. The convergence of petitioner's favorable
action on the extradition request and the deprivation of private respondent's liberty is
easily comprehensible.

We have ruled time and again that this Court's equity jurisdiction, which is aptly
described as "justice outside legality," may be availed of only in the absence of, and
never against, statutory law or judicial pronouncements (Smith Bell & Co., Inc. vs.
Court of Appeals, 267 SCRA 530 [1997]; David-Chan vs. Court of Appeals, 268
SCRA 677 [1997]). The constitutional issue in the case at bar does not even call for
"justice outside legality," since private respondent's due process rights, although not
guaranteed by statute or by treaty, are protected by constitutional guarantees. We
would not be true to the organic law of the land if we choose strict construction over
guarantees against the deprivation of liberty. That would not be in keeping with the
principles of democracy on which our Constitution is premised.

Verily, as one traverses treacherous waters of conflicting and opposing currents of


liberty and government authority, he must ever hold the oar of freedom in the
stronger arm, lest an errant and wayward course be laid.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the instant petition is hereby


DISMISSED for lack of merit. Petitioner is ordered to furnish private respondent
copies of the extradition request and its supporting papers, and to grant him a
reasonable period within which to file his comment with supporting evidence. The
incidents in Civil Case No. 99-94684 having been rendered moot and academic by
this decision, the same is hereby ordered dismissed.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-49112 February 2, 1979 implementation are concerned, for transgressing the
fundamental principle of non- delegation of legislative power. The
Letter of Instruction is stigmatized by petitioner who is
possessed of the requisite standing, as being arbitrary and
LEOVILLO C. AGUSTIN, petitioner, oppressive. A temporary restraining order as issued and
respondents Romeo F. Edu, Land Transportation Commissioner
vs. Juan Ponce Enrile, Minister of National Defense; Alfredo L.
Juinio, Minister of Public Works, Transportation and
HON. ROMEO F. EDU, in his capacity as Land Transportation Communications; and Baltazar Aquino, Minister of Public
Commissioner; HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, in his capacity as Highways; were to answer. That they did in a pleading submitted
Minister of National Defense; HON. ALFREDO L. JUINIO, in his by Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza. 2 Impressed with a
capacity as Minister Of Public Works, Transportation and highly persuasive quality, it makes devoid clear that the
Communications; and HON: BALTAZAR AQUINO, in his capacity imputation of a constitutional infirmity is devoid of justification
as Minister of Public Highways, respondents. The Letter of Instruction on is a valid police power measure. Nor
could the implementing rules and regulations issued by
respondent Edu be considered as amounting to an exercise of
Leovillo C. Agustin Law Office for petitioner. legislative power. Accordingly, the petition must be dismissed.

Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza, Assistant Solicitor The facts are undisputed. The assailed Letter of Instruction
General Ruben E. Agpalo and Solicitor Amado D. Aquino for No. 229 of President Marcos, issued on December 2, 1974, reads
respondents. in full: "[Whereas], statistics show that one of the major causes
of fatal or serious accidents in land transportation is the
presence of disabled, stalled or parked motor vehicles along
streets or highways without any appropriate early warning device
FERNANDO, J.: to signal approaching motorists of their presence; [Whereas], the
hazards posed by such obstructions to traffic have been
recognized by international bodies concerned with traffic safety,
the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals and the
The validity of a letter of Instruction 1 providing for an early United Nations Organization (U.N.); [Whereas], the said Vienna
seaming device for motor vehicles is assailed in this prohibition Convention which was ratified by the Philippine Government
proceeding as being violative of the constitutional guarantee of under P.D. No. 207, recommended the enactment of local
due process and, insofar as the rules and regulations for its legislation for the installation of road safety signs and devices;
[Now, therefore, I, Ferdinand E. Marcos], President of the ordered a six-month period of suspension insofar as the
Philippines, in the interest of safety on all streets and highways, installation of early warning device as a pre-registration
including expressways or limited access roads, do hereby direct: requirement for motor vehicle was concerned. 6 Then on June 30,
1. That all owners, users or drivers of motor vehicles shall have 1978, another Letter of Instruction 7 the lifting of such
at all times in their motor vehicles at least one (1) pair of early suspension and directed the immediate implementation of Letter
warning device consisting of triangular, collapsible reflectorized of Instruction No. 229 as amended. 8 It was not until August 29,
plates in red and yellow colors at least 15 cms. at the base and 1978 that respondent Edu issued Memorandum Circular No. 32,
40 cms. at the sides. 2. Whenever any motor vehicle is stalled or worded thus: "In pursuance of Letter of Instruction No. 716, dated
disabled or is parked for thirty (30) minutes or more on any street June 30, 1978, the implementation of Letter of Instruction No. 229,
or highway, including expressways or limited access roads, the as amended by Letter of Instructions No. 479, requiring the use
owner, user or driver thereof shall cause the warning device of Early Warning Devices (EWD) on motor vehicle, the following
mentioned herein to be installed at least four meters away to the rules and regulations are hereby issued: 1. LTC Administrative
front and rear of the motor vehicle staged, disabled or parked. 3. Order No. 1, dated December 10, 1976; shall now be implemented
The Land Transportation Commissioner shall cause provided that the device may come from whatever source and
Reflectorized Triangular Early Warning Devices, as herein that it shall have substantially complied with the EWD
described, to be prepared and issued to registered owners of specifications contained in Section 2 of said administrative
motor vehicles, except motorcycles and trailers, charging for order; 2. In order to insure that every motor vehicle , except
each piece not more than 15 % of the acquisition cost. He shall motorcycles, is equipped with the device, a pair of serially
also promulgate such rules and regulations as are appropriate to numbered stickers, to be issued free of charge by this
effectively implement this order. 4. All hereby concerned shall Commission, shall be attached to each EWD. The EWD. serial
closely coordinate and take such measures as are necessary or number shall be indicated on the registration certificate and
appropriate to carry into effect then instruction. 3 Thereafter, on official receipt of payment of current registration fees of the
November 15, 1976, it was amended by Letter of Instruction No. motor vehicle concerned. All Orders, Circulars, and Memoranda
479 in this wise. "Paragraph 3 of Letter of Instruction No. 229 is in conflict herewith are hereby superseded, This Order shall take
hereby amended to read as follows: 3. The Land transportation effect immediately. 9 It was for immediate implementation by
Commissioner shall require every motor vehicle owner to respondent Alfredo L. Juinio, as Minister of Public Works,
procure from any and present at the registration of his vehicle, transportation, and Communications. 10
one pair of a reflectorized early warning device, as d bed of any
brand or make chosen by mid motor vehicle . The Land
Transportation Commissioner shall also promulgate such rule
and regulations as are appropriate to effectively implement this Petitioner, after setting forth that he "is the owner of a
order.'" 4 There was issued accordingly, by respondent Edu, the Volkswagen Beetle Car, Model 13035, already properly equipped
implementing rules and regulations on December 10, 1976. 5 when it came out from the assembly lines with blinking lights fore
They were not enforced as President Marcos on January 25, 1977, and aft, which could very well serve as an early warning device
in case of the emergencies mentioned in Letter of Instructions [issue] a [temporary restraining order] effective as of this date
No. 229, as amended, as well as the implementing rules and and continuing until otherwise ordered by this Court.16
regulations in Administrative Order No. 1 issued by the land
transportation Commission," 11 alleged that said Letter of
Instruction No. 229, as amended, "clearly violates the provisions
and delegation of police power, [sic] * * *: " For him they are Two motions for extension were filed by the Office of the
"oppressive, unreasonable, arbitrary, confiscatory, nay Solicitor General and granted. Then on November 15, 1978, he
unconstitutional and contrary to the precepts of our Answer for respondents was submitted. After admitting the
compassionate New Society." 12 He contended that they are factual allegations and stating that they lacked knowledge or
"infected with arbitrariness because it is harsh, cruel and information sufficient to form a belief as to petitioner owning a
unconscionable to the motoring public;" 13 are "one-sided, Volkswagen Beetle car," they "specifically deny the allegations
onerous and patently illegal and immoral because [they] will and stating they lacked knowledge or information sufficient to
make manufacturers and dealers instant millionaires at the form a belief as to petitioner owning a Volkswagen Beetle Car, 17
expense of car owners who are compelled to buy a set of the so- they specifically deny the allegations in paragraphs X and XI
called early warning device at the rate of P 56.00 to P72.00 per (including its subparagraphs 1, 2, 3, 4) of Petition to the effect
set." 14 are unlawful and unconstitutional and contrary to the that Letter of Instruction No. 229 as amended by Letters of
precepts of a compassionate New Society [as being] compulsory Instructions Nos. 479 and 716 as well as Land transportation
and confiscatory on the part of the motorists who could very well Commission Administrative Order No. 1 and its Memorandum
provide a practical alternative road safety device, or a better Circular No. 32 violates the constitutional provisions on due
substitute to the specified set of EWD's." 15 He therefore prayed process of law, equal protection of law and undue delegation of
for a judgment both the assailed Letters of Instructions and police power, and that the same are likewise oppressive,
Memorandum Circular void and unconstitutional and for a arbitrary, confiscatory, one-sided, onerous, immoral
restraining order in the meanwhile. unreasonable and illegal the truth being that said allegations are
without legal and factual basis and for the reasons alleged in the
Special and Affirmative Defenses of this Answer."18 Unlike
petitioner who contented himself with a rhetorical recital of his
A resolution to this effect was handed down by this Court on litany of grievances and merely invoked the sacramental phrases
October 19, 1978: "L-49112 (Leovillo C. Agustin v. Hon. Romeo F. of constitutional litigation, the Answer, in demonstrating that the
Edu, etc., et al.) — Considering the allegations contained, the assailed Letter of Instruction was a valid exercise of the police
issues raised and the arguments adduced in the petition for power and implementing rules and regulations of respondent
prohibition with writ of p prohibitory and/or mandatory Edu not susceptible to the charge that there was unlawful
injunction, the Court Resolved to (require) the respondents to file delegation of legislative power, there was in the portion
an answer thereto within ton (10) days from notice and not to captioned Special and Affirmative Defenses, a citation of what
move to dismiss the petition. The Court further Resolved to respondents believed to be the authoritative decisions of this
Tribunal calling for application. They are Calalang v. Williams, 19 promote the general welfare. Persons and property could thus 'be
Morfe v. Mutuc, 20 and Edu v. Ericta. 21 Reference was likewise subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens in order to we the
made to the 1968 Vienna Conventions of the United Nations on general comfort, health and prosperity of the state.' Shortly after
road traffic, road signs, and signals, of which the Philippines was independence in 1948, Primicias v. Fugoso reiterated the
a signatory and which was duly ratified. 22 Solicitor General doctrine, such a competence being referred to as 'the power to
Mendoza took pains to refute in detail, in language calm and prescribe regulations to promote the health, morals, peace,
dispassionate, the vigorous, at times intemperate, accusation of education, good order or safety, and general welfare of the
petitioner that the assailed Letter of Instruction and the people. The concept was set forth in negative terms by Justice
implementing rules and regulations cannot survive the test of Malcolm in a pre-Commonwealth decision as 'that inherent and
rigorous scrutiny. To repeat, its highly-persuasive quality cannot plenary power in the State which enables it to prohibit all things
be denied. hurtful to the comfort, safety and welfare of society. In that sense
it could be hardly distinguishable as noted by this Court in Morfe
v. Mutuc with the totality of legislative power. It is in the above
sense the greatest and most powerful at. tribute of government.
This Court thus considered the petition submitted for It is, to quote Justice Malcolm anew, 'the most essential,
decision, the issues being clearly joined. As noted at the outset, insistent, and at least table powers, I extending as Justice
it is far from meritorious and must be dismissed. Holmes aptly pointed out 'to all the great public needs.' Its scope,
ever-expanding to meet the exigencies of the times, even to
anticipate the future where it could be done, provides enough
room for an efficient and flexible response to conditions and
1. The Letter of Instruction in question was issued in the circumstances thus assuring the greatest benefits. In the
exercise of the police power. That is conceded by petitioner and language of Justice Cardozo: 'Needs that were narrow or
is the main reliance of respondents. It is the submission of the parochial in the past may be interwoven in the present with the
former, however, that while embraced in such a category, it has well-being of the nation. What is critical or urgent changes with
offended against the due process and equal protection the time.' The police power is thus a dynamic agency, suitably
safeguards of the Constitution, although the latter point was vague and far from precisely defined, rooted in the conception
mentioned only in passing. The broad and expansive scope of that men in organizing the state and imposing upon its
the police power which was originally Identified by Chief Justice government limitations to safeguard constitutional rights did not
Taney of the American Supreme Court in an 1847 decision as intend thereby to enable an individual citizen or a group of
"nothing more or less than the powers of government inherent in citizens to obstruct unreasonably the enactment of such salutary
every sovereignty" 23 was stressed in the aforementioned case measures calculated to communal peace, safety, good order, and
of Edu v. Ericta thus: "Justice Laurel, in the first leading decision welfare." 24
after the Constitution came into force, Calalang v. Williams,
Identified police power with state authority to enact legislation
that may interfere with personal liberty or property in order to
2. It was thus a heavy burden to be shouldered by petitioner,
compounded by the fact that the particular police power measure
challenged was clearly intended to promote public safety. It 4. Nor did the Solicitor General as he very well could, rely
would be a rare occurrence indeed for this Court to invalidate a solely on such rebutted presumption of validity. As was pointed
legislative or executive act of that character. None has been out in his Answer "The President certainly had in his possession
called to our attention, an indication of its being non-existent. The the necessary statistical information and data at the time he
latest decision in point, Edu v. Ericta, sustained the validity of the issued said letter of instructions, and such factual foundation
Reflector Law, 25 an enactment conceived with the same end in cannot be defeated by petitioner's naked assertion that early
view. Calalang v. Williams found nothing objectionable in a warning devices 'are not too vital to the prevention of nighttime
statute, the purpose of which was: "To promote safe transit upon, vehicular accidents' because allegedly only 390 or 1.5 per cent of
and. avoid obstruction on roads and streets designated as the supposed 26,000 motor vehicle accidents that in 1976
national roads * * *. 26 As a matter of fact, the first law sought to involved rear-end collisions (p. 12 of petition). Petitioner's
be nullified after the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution, the statistics is not backed up by demonstrable data on record. As
National Defense Act, 27 with petitioner failing in his quest, was aptly stated by this Honorable Court: Further: "It admits of no
likewise prompted by the imperative demands of public safety. doubt therefore that there being a presumption of validity, the
necessity for evidence to rebut it is unavoidable, unless the
statute or ordinance is void on its face, which is not the case
here"' * * *. But even as g the verity of petitioner's statistics, is
3. The futility of petitioner's effort to nullify both the Letter of that not reason enough to require the installation of early warning
Instruction and the implementing rules and regulations becomes devices to prevent another 390 rear-end collisions that could
even more apparent considering his failure to lay the necessary mean the death of 390 or more Filipinos and the deaths that could
factual foundation to rebut the presumption of validity. So it was likewise result from head-on or frontal collisions with stalled
held in Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association, Inc. vehicles?" 30 It is quite manifest then that the issuance of such
v. City Mayor of Manila. 28 The rationale was clearly set forth in Letter of Instruction is encased in the armor of prior, careful
an excerpt from a decision of Justice Branders of the American study by the Executive Department. To set it aside for alleged
Supreme Court, quoted in the opinion: "The statute here repugnancy to the due process clause is to give sanction to
questioned deals with a subject clearly within the scope of the conjectural claims that exceeded even the broadest permissible
police power. We are asked to declare it void on the ground that limits of a pleader's well known penchant for exaggeration.
the specific method of regulation prescribed is unreasonable and
hence deprives the plaintiff of due process of law. As underlying
questions of fact may condition the constitutionality of
legislation of this character, the presumption of constitutionality 5. The rather wild and fantastic nature of the charge of
must prevail in the absence of some factual foundation of record oppressiveness of this Letter of Instruction was exposed in the
in overthrowing the statute. 29 Answer of the Solicitor General thus: "Such early warning device
requirement is not an expensive redundancy, nor oppressive, for
car owners whose cars are already equipped with 1) blinking industry and practical ingenuity, motor vehicle owners can even
lights in the fore and aft of said motor vehicles,' 2) "battery- personally make or produce this early warning device so long as
powered blinking lights inside motor vehicles," 3) "built-in the same substantially conforms with the specifications laid
reflectorized tapes on front and rear bumpers of motor vehicles," down in said letter of instruction and administrative order.
or 4) "well-lighted two (2) petroleum lamps (the Kinke) * * * Accordingly the early warning device requirement can neither be
because: Being universal among the signatory countries to the oppressive, onerous, immoral, nor confiscatory, much less does
said 1968 Vienna Conventions, and visible even under adverse it make manufacturers and dealers of said devices 'instant
conditions at a distance of at least 400 meters, any motorist from millionaires at the expense of car owners' as petitioner so
this country or from any part of the world, who sees a sweepingly concludes * * *. Petitioner's fear that with the early
reflectorized rectangular early seaming device installed on the warning device requirement 'a more subtle racket may be
roads, highways or expressways, will conclude, without thinking, committed by those called upon to enforce it * * * is an unfounded
that somewhere along the travelled portion of that road, highway, speculation. Besides, that unscrupulous officials may try to
or expressway, there is a motor vehicle which is stationary, enforce said requirement in an unreasonable manner or to an
stalled or disabled which obstructs or endangers passing traffic. unreasonable degree, does not render the same illegal or
On the other hand, a motorist who sees any of the immoral where, as in the instant case, the challenged Letter of
aforementioned other built in warning devices or the petroleum Instruction No. 229 and implementing order disclose none of the
lamps will not immediately get adequate advance warning constitutional defects alleged against it.32
because he will still think what that blinking light is all about. Is it
an emergency vehicle? Is it a law enforcement car? Is it an
ambulance? Such confusion or uncertainty in the mind of the
motorist will thus increase, rather than decrease, the danger of 7 It does appear clearly that petitioner's objection to this
collision. 31 Letter of Instruction is not premised on lack of power, the
justification for a finding of unconstitutionality, but on the
pessimistic, not to say negative, view he entertains as to its
wisdom. That approach, it put it at its mildest, is distinguished, if
6. Nor did the other extravagant assertions of constitutional that is the appropriate word, by its unorthodoxy. It bears
deficiency go unrefuted in the Answer of the Solicitor General repeating "that this Court, in the language of Justice Laurel, 'does
"There is nothing in the questioned Letter of Instruction No. 229, not pass upon questions of wisdom justice or expediency of
as amended, or in Administrative Order No. 1, which requires or legislation.' As expressed by Justice Tuason: 'It is not the
compels motor vehicle owners to purchase the early warning province of the courts to supervise legislation and keep it within
device prescribed thereby. All that is required is for motor vehicle the bounds of propriety and common sense. That is primarily and
owners concerned like petitioner, to equip their motor vehicles exclusively a legislative concern.' There can be no possible
with a pair of this early warning device in question, procuring or objection then to the observation of Justice Montemayor. 'As
obtaining the same from whatever source. In fact, with a little of long as laws do not violate any Constitutional provision, the
Courts merely interpret and apply them regardless of whether or legislative policy, marks its maps out its boundaries and
not they are wise or salutary. For they, according to Justice specifies the public agency to apply it. It indicates the
Labrador, 'are not supposed to override legitimate policy and * * circumstances under which the legislative command is to be
* never inquire into the wisdom of the law.' It is thus settled, to effected. It is the criterion by which legislative purpose may be
paraphrase Chief Justice Concepcion in Gonzales v. carried out. Thereafter, the executive or administrative office
Commission on Elections, that only congressional power or designated may in pursuance of the above guidelines promulgate
competence, not the wisdom of the action taken, may be the supplemental rules and regulations. The standard may be either
basis for declaring a statute invalid. This is as it ought to be. The express or implied. If the former, the non-delegation objection is
principle of separation of powers has in the main wisely allocated easily met. The standard though does not have to be spelled out
the respective authority of each department and confined its specifically. It could be implied from the policy and purpose of
jurisdiction to such a sphere. There would then be intrusion not the act considered as a whole. In the Reflector Law clearly, the
allowable under the Constitution if on a matter left to the legislative objective is public safety. What is sought to be
discretion of a coordinate branch, the judiciary would substitute attained as in Calalang v. Williams is "safe transit upon the
its own. If there be adherence to the rule of law, as there ought to roads.' This is to adhere to the recognition given expression by
be, the last offender should be courts of justice, to which rightly Justice Laurel in a decision announced not too long after the
litigants submit their controversy precisely to maintain Constitution came into force and effect that the principle of non-
unimpaired the supremacy of legal norms and prescriptions. The delegation "has been made to adapt itself to the complexities of
attack on the validity of the challenged provision likewise insofar modern governments, giving rise to the adoption, within certain
as there may be objections, even if valid and cogent on is wisdom limits, of the principle of "subordinate legislation" not only in the
cannot be sustained. 33 United States and England but in practically all modern
governments.' He continued: 'Accordingly, with the growing
complexity of modern life, the multiplication of the subjects of
governmental regulation, and the increased difficulty of
8. The alleged infringement of the fundamental principle of administering the laws, there is a constantly growing tendency
non-delegation of legislative power is equally without any toward the delegation of greater powers by the legislature and
support well-settled legal doctrines. Had petitioner taken the toward the approval of the practice by the courts.' Consistency
trouble to acquaint himself with authoritative pronouncements with the conceptual approach requires the reminder that what is
from this Tribunal, he would not have the temerity to make such delegated is authority non-legislative in character, the
an assertion. An exempt from the aforecited decision of Edu v. completeness of the statute when it leaves the hands of
Ericta sheds light on the matter: "To avoid the taint of unlawful Congress being assumed." 34
delegation, there must be a standard, which implies at the very
least that the legislature itself determines matters of principle and
lays down fundamental policy. Otherwise, the charge of complete
abdication may be hard to repel A standard thus defines
9. The conclusion reached by this Court that this petition must invocation of which a party to a lawsuit can rightfully expect that
be dismissed is reinforced by this consideration. The petition success will crown his efforts. The law is anything but that.
itself quoted these two whereas clauses of the assailed Letter of
Instruction: "[Whereas], the hazards posed by such obstructions
to traffic have been recognized by international bodies
concerned with traffic safety, the 1968 Vienna Convention on WHEREFORE, this petition is dismissed. The restraining
Road Signs and Signals and the United Nations Organization order is lifted. This decision is immediately executory. No costs.
(U.N.); [Whereas], the said Vionna Convention, which was ratified
by the Philippine Government under P.D. No. 207, recommended
the enactment of local legislation for the installation of road
safety signs and devices; * * * " 35 It cannot be disputed then that
this Declaration of Principle found in the Constitution possesses
relevance: "The Philippines * * * adopts the generally accepted
principles of international law as part of the law of the land * * *."
36 The 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals is
impressed with such a character. It is not for this country to
repudiate a commitment to which it had pledged its word. The
concept of Pacta sunt servanda stands in the way of such an
attitude, which is, moreover, at war with the principle of
international morality.

10. That is about all that needs be said. The rather court
reference to equal protection did not even elicit any attempt on
the Part of Petitioner to substantiate in a manner clear, positive,
and categorical why such a casual observation should be taken
seriously. In no case is there a more appropriate occasion for
insistence on what was referred to as "the general rule" in
Santiago v. Far Eastern Broadcasting Co., 37 namely, "that the
constitutionality of a law wig not be considered unless the point
is specially pleaded, insisted upon, and adequately argued." 38
"Equal protection" is not a talismanic formula at the mere
G.R. No. 204891, September 14, 2016 (Corazon) and her husband pacified them. Thereafter, Corazon took Arlene's two (2)
children and offered them the safety of her apartment as Abayon was still drunk.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v. REYNALDO ABAYON Y
APONTE, Appellant. At around 11:00 P.M. of the same day, Abayon's neighbors heard a hissing sound and
smelled leaking gas. When they came out of their houses to check, they saw Abayon
RESOLUTION holding an LPG gas tank outside his apartment. Robert Ignacio Antonio (Robert), one
of his neighbors and his best friend, approached Abayon to ask what he was doing.
BRION, J.: He heard Abayon say, "Putang ina, wala pala ako silbi! Inutil pala ako!"4 He also
noticed that Abayon was holding an unlit cigarette inserted between his left index and
We resolve the appeal of accused-appellant Reynaldo Abayon y Aponte (Abayon) middle fingers, that a match was on his left palm, and that his right hand was turning
assailing the July 20, 2012 decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA), docketed as CA- on and off the gas tank. When he figured out what Abayon was trying to do, Robert
G.R. CR-H.C. No. 03195. The CA decision affirmed the July 31, 2007 decision2 of scolded him and said, "Putang ina mo, Boy! Magsusunog ka, idadamay mo pa
the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 275, Las Pi�as City, and ordered him to pay kami!"5 After that, he turned off the regulator of the gas tank and brought it to
death indemnity to the heirs of Lourdes Chokilo, Aiza Delos Angeles, and Zenaida Corazon's house for safekeeping.
Velos.
At past midnight of July 26, 2002, the house (containing the units where Abayon and
THE CASE his neighbors live) started to catch fire. The neighbors came out of their respective
units because of the thick smoke and the heat coming from the fire. As a result, the
In an information dated July 29, 2002,3 Abayon was formally charged as follows: ChanRoblesV irtualawlibrary house was completely burned down along with the personal effects of the residents.
"That on or about the 26th day of July 2002, in the City of Las Pi�as, Philippines, Three (3) persons also died because of the fire,-namely: Lourdes Chokilo, the owner
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with of the house; Aiza Delos Angeles; and Zenaida Velos.
intent to cause damage to property, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously and deliberately burn or set fire to the house and/or dwelling of Expectedly, Abayon denied that he had caused the fire and raised the defense of alibi.
ROBERTO IGNACIO Y ANTONIO and TEODORO DELOS ANGELES Y GOIS He admitted that he had an altercation with his wife and that he had left after he was
causing it to be burned and turned into ashes and as a result of said fire, victims pacified by his neighbors. When he came back, Abayon realized that his wife and
Lourdes Chokilo, Zenaida Velos and Aiza Delos Angeles who were then sleeping children were not at home, so he decided to look for them at his sister-in-law's place
inside the said house were also burned to death. at Trece. Before he left, he brought inside his apartment the LPG tank and the kitchen
stove that had been placed outside. When Abayon saw Robert, he asked him to look
CONTRARY TO LAW." after his house while he searched for his family.
Abayon entered a plea of not guilty when he was arraigned on August 20, 2002.
Abayon allegedly left for Trece at around 9 p.m. only to find out when he got there
Trial on the merits followed the pre-trial where Abayon entered into stipulations that his family was not there. He then proceeded to his sister's house in Makati at
regarding specified documentary evidence presented by the prosecution. around 4 a.m. Again, he did not find his family there. He opted to stay at his sister's
place until 8:00 p.m. of July 26, 2002. He was arrested later when he showed up at his
The evidence for the prosecution showed that in the evening of July 25, 2002, residence.
Abayon and his wife, Arlene, quarreled outside their residence. Since they rented an
apartment adjacent to others, their neighbors witnessed the entire incident. When In its July 31, 2007 decision, the RTC found Abayon guilty beyond reasonable doubt
Arlene shouted for help because Abayon was strangling her, Corazon Requitillo of the crime of arson resulting in multiple homicide, defined and punished under Sec.
1, in relation to Sec. 5 of P.D. No. 1613, as amended by R.A. No. 7659. The trial
court held that the prosecution successfully established the elements of the crime
charged through circumstantial evidence. It gave no credence to Abayon's denial From the body of the information filed, Abayon is charged with the crime of arson
because his neighbors � especially his best friend � positively identified him as the because his intent was merely to destroy his family's apartment through the use of
person who had earlier attempted to burn his place down using an LPG gas tank; the fire. The resulting deaths that occurred, therefore, should be absorbed by the crime of
fire broke out later and razed the rooms they were renting. arson and only increases the imposable penalty to reclusion perpetua to death,
pursuant to Section 5 of P.D. No. 1613.
On appeal, Abayon assailed the RTC decision on the ground that there was no direct
evidence showing that he had started the fire that burned down the house. The prosecution established the elements of the crime of simple arson through
circumstantial evidence.
In its July 20, 2012 decision, the CA upheld Abayon's conviction based on the RTC's
appreciation of the circumstances proven by the prosecution. The CA held that the Simple arson, defined and punished under Section 1 of P.D. No. 1613, is essentially
proven circumstantial evidence sufficiently pointed to Abayon as the perpetrator of the destruction of property by fire that is not under the circumstances enumerated
the crime charged. The CA included an award of death indemnity worth P50,000.00 under Article 320 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659. In
each in favor of the heirs of the three (3) victims. prosecuting arson, whether destructive or simple, the corpus delicti rule is generally
satisfied by proof that a fire occurred, and that it was intentionally caused.7
chanrobleslaw

Abayon filed the present appeal to challenge the CA decision.


We point out that no one among the prosecution's witnesses actually saw Abayon
OUR RULING start the fire. The lower courts had to resort to circumstantial evidence since there was
no direct evidence proving his guilt.
We affirm the conviction of Abayon and order him to pay civil damages on top of the
death indemnity. It is settled that in the absence of direct evidence, circumstantial evidence may be
sufficient to sustain a conviction provided that: "(a) there is more than one
There is no complex crime of arson with (multiple) homicide. circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived have been proven;
and (c) the combination of all the circumstances results in a moral certainty that the
In People v. Malngan,6 we held that there is no complex crime of arson with accused, to the exclusion of all others, is the one who has committed the crime. Thus,
homicide because the crime of arson absorbs the resultant death or is a separate crime to justify a conviction based on circumstantial evidence, the combination of
altogether, to wit: circumstances must be interwoven in a way that would leave no reasonable doubt as
to the guilt of the accused."8 chanrobleslaw

Accordingly, in cases where both burning and death occur, in order to determine
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

what crime/crimes was/were perpetrated - whether arson, murder or arson and In the present case, the RTC enumerated the following circumstances leading to the
homicide/murder, it is de rigueur to ascertain the main objective of the malefactor: (a) unavoidable conclusion that Abayon set the fire that engulfed not only his apartment
if the main objective is the burning of the building or edifice, but death results by but his neighbors' as well:
ChanRob lesVirtualawlibrary

reason or on the occasion of arson, the crime is simply arson, and the resulting
homicide is absorbed; (b) if, on the other hand, the main objective is to kill a 1. The quarrel of the accused with his wife who must have hurt the
particular person who may be in a building or edifice, when fire is resorted to as the accused when she told him that he was good-for-nothing "walang silbi,
means to accomplish such goal the crime committed is murder only; lastly, (c) if the inutil;" and shouting at him to leave the house (lumayas ka);
objective is, likewise, to kill a particular person, and in fact the offender has already
done so, but fire is resorted to as a means to cover up the killing, then there are two
separate and distinct crimes committed � homicide/murder and arson.
2. His having muttered audibly, "walang silbi pala ako, inutil pala," 4. Roberto Ignacio then proceeded to the place of the accused and saw
indicative of his having harbored intense hatred for his wife against the latter holding an unlit cigarette and a match at his left hand while
whom he evidently wanted to get back at by burning the house; twisting on and off the valve of the gas tank with his right and slurring
the words: "Putang ina, wala pala akong silbi! Inutil pala ako!"
3. While holding a match, and having opened the gas tank, such that Seeing this, Roberto scolded the latter and took the gas tank away.
leaking gas smelled strongly, indicating that plenty of it leaked out
when he opened the gas tank; 5. A few moments later, at about twelve o'clock midnight of the same
night, a fire broke out. Said fire began at the room occupied by the
4. His having been berated by his neighbor and best friend about his accused Reynaldo Abayon. The fire engulfed the whole house, killing
intention to burn the house and his fear that his house, too, will be Lourdes Chokilo, Zenaida Veluz and Aiza delos Angeles.
burned;
6. During the trial, accused put up an alibi. However, he failed to produce
5. The failure of the accused's sister to corroborate his defense of alibi; any witnesses to corroborate his defense notwithstanding the fact that
said witness were supposed to be with his own sister and sister-in-law.
6. The fact that his best friend, Robert Ignacio, not only did not To make matters worse, his "supposed best friend", Roberto Ignacio,
corroborate his claim that he entrusted his house to Ignacio, but also testified against him.
and most importantly the testimonial of his best friend that he opened ���������
the gas tank while muttering the words already mentioned, and while
holding a match and unlighted cigarette.9 x x x x10
The CA, for its part, enumerated the following circumstances pointing to Abayon's We note that these circumstances all point out to the incidents from around 9:00 p.m.
guilt, as follows:
Chan RoblesV irtualawlibrary

(when the quarrel between Abayon and his wife started) until 11 p.m. (the time when
Abayon's alleged attempt to burn the houses was thwarted). The courts a quo did not
1. On July 25, 2002, at about 9:00 in the evening, neighbors/witnesses mention any circumstance that clearly links Abayon to the fire that broke out at past
heard accused Reynaldo Abayon y Aponte and his wife Arlene by the midnight.
road of Block 5, Lot 4, Champaca Street, Paramount Village, Las
Pi�as, having a heated argument with the latter shouting at the The records, however, also revealed that Abayon bought a match from Edmund
accused: "Putang ina mo! Walang silbi! Inutil ka! Lumayas ka dito." Felipe at around 12:15 a.m. When Edmund asked what the match was for,
Abayon uttered, "Wala, may susunugin lang ako."11 chanrobleslaw

2. Neighbors Corazon Requyitillo and her husband Eduardo came to the


aid of the distressed Arlene when she yelled "saklolo!", as the accused To our mind, Edmund's statement clinches the case against Abayon insofar as
began to strangle her. establishing his clear link to the fire that broke out at past 12 a.m.; it also makes all
the more significant the pieces of circumstantial evidence enumerated by both the
3. Thereafter, at around 11:00 in the evening, next room-neighbor
RTC and the CA especially in proving the motive for the crime, i.e., what led Abayon
Roberto Ignacio y Antonio and his wife Helen heard a hissing sound
to burn his and his neighbors' houses. The combination of all these circumstances,
and� sensed a robust� stench of leaking� gas� indicating that an
vis-a-vis the statement of Edmund, leads to no other conclusion than that Abayon
abundance of such had indeed seeped out.
deliberately started the fire that resulted in the death of three (3) innocent victims.
There could be no doubt on this conclusion: Abayon had the motive (i.e., he was
characterized as a 'good-for-nothing husband' by his wife during a violent
quarrel); he had made a previous attempt to start a fire (by turning on and off Without any showing of ill motive on the part of his neighbors (especially Robert,
the gas tank's regulator, while holding an unlighted cigarette and match); and he who is his best friend) to falsely testify against Abayon, their categorical and positive
bought a match at past midnight, stating to the vendor that he will use it to burn identification should prevail over alibi and denial. Corazon testified that he was a
something. neighbor of Abayon and that she saw him fighting with his wife before seeing him
outside her house holding an LPG tank. Robert, who was able to retrieve the LPG
Denial cannot prevail over positive and categorical identification of the accused. tank from Abayon, actually tried to talk him out of what he was doing. Two (2) other
witnesses for the prosecution, who were likewise his neighbors, corroborated what
On the credibility of witnesses, we note the well-settled rule that the trial court is in Corazon and Robert narrated.
the best position to assess the credibility of witnesses. In the absence of any showing
of a fact or circumstance of weight and influence which would appear to have been As the RTC and the CA did, we view Abayon's denial to be self-serving and
overlooked and, if considered, could affect the outcome of the case, the factual undeserving of any credence in view of the testimonies of the eyewitnesses'
findings and assessment on the credibility of a witness made by the trial court remain categorical, positive, and forthright identification of him the night the burning
binding on an appellate tribunal.12 chanrobleslaw incident happened.

In People v. Gallarde,13 we distinguished the two types of positive identification of a The proper penalty and the awarded indemnities
perpetrator of a crime and discussed their legal importance, thus: Chan Rob lesVirtualawlibrary

Positive identification pertains essentially to proof of identity and not per se to that of The penalty for arson resulting to death under Section 5 of P.D. No. 1613 is reclusion
being an eyewitness to the very act of commission of the crime. There are two types perpetua to death. Since there was no aggravating circumstance alleged in the
of positive identification. A witness may identify a suspect or accused in a information, the CA correctly sentenced Abayon to suffer the penalty of reclusion
criminal case as the perpetrator of the crime as an eyewitness to the very act of perpetua only.
the commission of the crime. This constitutes direct evidence. There may,
however, be instances where, although a witness may not have actually seen the We also point out that the CA awarded P50,000.00 death indemnity in favor of the
very act of commission of a crime, he may still be able to positively identify a heirs of the three (3) victims. We increase this award to P75,000.00 pursuant to
suspect or accused as the perpetrator of a crime as for instance when the latter is People v. Jugueta;14 we also direct Abayon to further pay the victim's heirs
the person or one of the persons last seen with the victim immediately before and P75,000.00 as moral damages and P75,0000.00 as exemplary damages.15 chanrobleslaw

right after the commission of the crime. This is the second type of positive
identification, which forms part of circumstantial evidence, which, when taken The records show rough estimates of the properties the families lost during the fire.16
together with other pieces of evidence constituting an unbroken chain, leads to In the absence of a showing that these estimated amounts had been actually expended
the only fair and reasonable conclusion, which is that the accused is the author in a manner capable of substantiation by any document or receipt, the valuation
of the crime to the exclusion of all others. If the actual eyewitnesses are the only remains a mere estimate, and could not be the measure of an award for actual
ones allowed to possibly positively identify a suspect or accused to the exclusion of damages.17 The failure to present competent proof of actual damages should not
others, then nobody can ever be convicted unless there is an eyewitness, because it is deprive Abayon's neighbors of some degree of indemnity for the substantial economic
basic and elementary that there can be no conviction until and unless an accused is damage and prejudice they had suffered.18 chanrobleslaw

positively identified. Such a proposition is absolutely absurd, because it is settled that


direct evidence of the commission of a crime is not the only matrix wherefrom a trial According to Article 2224 of the Civil Code, temperate damages, which are more
court may draw its conclusion and finding of guilt. If resort to� circumstantial than nominal but less than compensatory damages, may be recovered when the court
evidence would not be allowed to prove identity of the accused on the absence of finds that some pecuniary loss has been suffered but its amount cannot, from the
direct evidence, then felons would go free and the community would be denied nature of the case, be proved with certainty. For this purpose, the determination of the
proper protection. [Emphasis supplied] temperate damages rests in the sound discretion of the courts.19 chanrobleslaw
Thus, we find it proper to award temperate damages to the Chokilo family in the
amount of P100,000.00; to the Ignacio family in the amount of P50,000.00; and to the
Balbas family in the amount of P50,000.00.

In addition, the civil indemnity, moral damages, exemplary damages, and temperate
damages payable by the appellant are subject to interest at the rate of six percent (6%)
per annum from the finality of this decision until fully paid

WHEREFORE, the July 20, 2012 decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-
H.C. No. 03195 is AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS:

chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary (a) the awarded civil indemnity is INCREASED from P50,000.00 to P75,000.00;

(b) Reynaldo Abayon is directed to FURTHER PAY each of the victims' heirs the
amounts of P75,000.00 as moral damages and P75,000.00 as exemplary damages;

(c) he is also DIRECTED to PAY temperate damages in the amounts of P100,000.00


to the Chokilo Family; P50,000.00 to the Ignacio Family; and P50,000.00 to the
Balbas Family; and cralawlawlibrary

(d) Reynaldo Abayon is also ORDERED to PAY interest at the rate of six percent
(6%) per annum from the time of finality of this decision until fully paid,

SO ORDERED
[G.R. No. 161434. March 3, 2004] Before the Court are three consolidated cases, all of which raise a
single question of profound importance to the nation. The issue of
citizenship is brought up to challenge the qualifications of a
MARIA JEANETTE C. TECSON and FELIX B. DESIDERIO, presidential candidate to hold the highest office of the land. Our people
JR., petitioners, vs. The COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, are waiting for the judgment of the Court with bated breath. Is
RONALD ALLAN KELLY POE (a.k.a. FERNANDO POE, Fernando Poe, Jr., the hero of silver screen, and now one of the main
contenders for the presidency, a natural-born Filipino or is he not?
JR.) and VICTORINO X. FORNIER, respondents.
The moment of introspection takes us face to face with Spanish
and American colonial roots and reminds us of the rich heritage of civil
[G.R. No. 161634. March 3, 2004] law and common law traditions, the fusion resulting in a hybrid of laws
and jurisprudence that could be no less than distinctly Filipino.

ZOILO ANTONIO VELEZ, petitioner, vs. RONALD ALLAN Antecedent Case Settings
KELLEY POE, a.k.a. FERNANDO POE, JR., respondent.
On 31 December 2003, respondent Ronald Allan Kelly Poe, also
known as Fernando Poe, Jr. (hereinafter "FPJ"), filed his certificate of
[G. R. No. 161824. March 3, 2004] candidacy for the position of President of the Republic of
the Philippines under the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP)
Party, in the forthcoming national elections. In his certificate of
VICTORINO X. FORNIER, petitioner, vs. HON. COMMISSION candidacy, FPJ, representing himself to be a natural-born citizen of
ON ELECTIONS and RONALD ALLAN KELLEY POE, the Philippines, stated his name to be "Fernando Jr.," or "Ronald
ALSO KNOWN AS FERNANDO POE JR., respondents. Allan" Poe, his date of birth to be 20 August 1939 and his place of birth
to be Manila.
DECISION Victorino X. Fornier, petitioner in G.R. No. 161824, entitled
VITUG, J.: "Victorino X. Fornier, Petitioner, versus Hon. Commission on Elections
and Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, also known as Fernando Poe, Jr.,
Citizenship is a treasured right conferred on those whom the Respondents," initiated, on 09 January 2004, a petition docketed SPA
state believes are deserving of the privilege. It is a precious No. 04-003 before the Commission on Elections ("COMELEC") to
heritage, as well as an inestimable acquisition, that cannot be
[1]
disqualify FPJ and to deny due course or to cancel his certificate of
taken lightly by anyone - either by those who enjoy it or by those candidacy upon the thesis that FPJ made a material misrepresentation
who dispute it. in his certificate of candidacy by claiming to be a natural-born Filipino
citizen when in truth, according to Fornier, his parents were foreigners;
his mother, Bessie Kelley Poe, was an American, and his father, Allan about the marriage of Allan F. Poe and Paulita Gomez could be found,
Poe, was a Spanish national, being the son of Lorenzo Pou, a Spanish c) a certificate of birth of Ronald Allan Poe, d) Original Certificate of
subject. Granting, petitioner asseverated, that Allan F. Poe was a Title No. P-2247 of the Registry of Deeds for the Province of
Filipino citizen, he could not have transmitted his Filipino citizenship to Pangasinan, in the name of Lorenzo Pou, e) copies of Tax Declaration
FPJ, the latter being an illegitimate child of an alien mother. Petitioner No. 20844, No. 20643, No. 23477 and No. 23478 in the name of
based the allegation of the illegitimate birth of respondent on two Lorenzo Pou, f) a copy of the certificate of death of Lorenzo Pou, g) a
assertions - first, Allan F. Poe contracted a prior marriage to a certain copy of the purported marriage contract between Fernando Pou and
Paulita Gomez before his marriage to Bessie Kelley and, second, even Bessie Kelley, and h) a certification issued by the City Civil Registrar
if no such prior marriage had existed, Allan F. Poe, married Bessie of San Carlos City, Pangasinan, stating that the records of birth in the
Kelly only a year after the birth of respondent. said office during the period of from 1900 until May 1946 were totally
destroyed during World War II.
In the hearing before the Third Division of the COMELEC on 19
January 2004, petitioner, in support of his claim, presented several On 23 January 2004, the COMELEC dismissed SPA No. 04-003
documentary exhibits - 1) a copy of the certificate of birth of FPJ, 2) a for lack of merit. Three days later, or on 26 January 2004, Fornier filed
certified photocopy of an affidavit executed in Spanish by Paulita Poe his motion for reconsideration. The motion was denied on 06 February
y Gomez attesting to her having filed a case for bigamy and 2004 by the COMELEC en banc. On 10 February 2004, petitioner
concubinage against the father of respondent, Allan F. Poe, after assailed the decision of the COMELEC before this Court conformably
discovering his bigamous relationship with Bessie Kelley, 3) an with Rule 64, in relation to Rule 65, of the Revised Rules of Civil
English translation of the affidavit aforesaid, 4) a certified photocopy Procedure. The petition, docketed G. R. No. 161824, likewise prayed
of the certificate of birth of Allan F. Poe, 5) a certification issued by the for a temporary restraining order, a writ of preliminary injunction or any
Director of the Records Management and Archives Office, attesting to other resolution that would stay the finality and/or execution of the
the fact that there was no record in the National Archives that a COMELEC resolutions.
Lorenzo Poe or Lorenzo Pou resided or entered the Philippines before
The other petitions, later consolidated with G. R. No. 161824,
1907, and 6) a certification from the Officer-In-Charge of the Archives
would include G. R. No. 161434, entitled "Maria Jeanette C. Tecson,
Division of the National Archives to the effect that no available
and Felix B. Desiderio, Jr., vs. The Commission on Elections, Ronald
information could be found in the files of the National Archives
Allan Kelley Poe (a.k.a. Fernando Poe, Jr.), and Victorino X. Fornier,"
regarding the birth of Allan F. Poe.
and the other, docketed G. R. No. 161634, entitled "Zoilo Antonio G.
On his part, respondent, presented twenty-two documentary Velez, vs. Ronald Allan Kelley Poe,a.k.a. Fernando Poe, Jr.," both
pieces of evidence, the more significant ones being - a) a certification challenging the jurisdiction of the COMELEC and asserting that, under
issued by Estrella M. Domingo of the Archives Division of the National Article VII, Section 4, paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution, only the
Archives that there appeared to be no available information regarding Supreme Court had original and exclusive jurisdiction to resolve the
the birth of Allan F. Poe in the registry of births for San Carlos, basic issue on the case.
Pangasinan, b) a certification issued by the Officer-In-Charge of the
Archives Division of the National Archives that no available information
Jurisdiction of the Court
In G. R. No. 161824 memorandum, required by the rules of the Commission or by the
Commission itself. Unless otherwise provided by this Constitution or by
In seeking the disqualification of the candidacy of FPJ and to have
law, any decision, order, or ruling of each Commission may be brought to
the COMELEC deny due course to or cancel FPJs certificate of
the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days
candidacy for alleged misrepresentation of a material fact (i.e., that
from receipt of a copy thereof."
FPJ was a natural-born citizen) before the COMELEC, petitioner
Fornier invoked Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code Additionally, Section 1, Article VIII, of the same Constitution
provides that judicial power is vested in one Supreme Court and in
Section 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of
such lower courts as may be established by law which power includes
candidacy. --- A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a
the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving
certificate of candidacy may be filed by any person exclusively on the
rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to
ground that any material representation contained therein as required under
determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
Section 74 hereof is false
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
in consonance with the general powers of COMELEC expressed in instrumentality of the Government.
Section 52 of the Omnibus Election Code - It is sufficiently clear that the petition brought up in G. R. No.
161824 was aptly elevated to, and could well be taken cognizance of
Section 52. Powers and functions of the Commission on Elections. In by, this Court. A contrary view could be a gross denial to our people
addition to the powers and functions conferred upon it by the Constitution, of their fundamental right to be fully informed, and to make a proper
the Commission shall have exclusive charge of the enforcement and choice, on who could or should be elected to occupy the highest
administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections for the purpose government post in the land.
of ensuring free, orderly and honest elections -
In G. R. No. 161434 and G. R. No. 161634
and in relation to Article 69 of the Omnibus Election Code which would Petitioners Tecson, et al., in G. R. No. 161434, and Velez, in G. R.
authorize "any interested party" to file a verified petition to deny or No. 161634, invoke the provisions of Article VII, Section 4, paragraph
cancel the certificate of candidacy of any nuisance candidate. 7, of the 1987 Constitution in assailing the jurisdiction of the
Decisions of the COMELEC on disqualification cases may be COMELEC when it took cognizance of SPA No. 04-003 and in urging
reviewed by the Supreme Court per Rule 64 in an action [2] the Supreme Court to instead take on the petitions they directly
for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Civil
[3] instituted before it. The Constitutional provision cited reads:
Procedure. Section 7, Article IX, of the 1987 Constitution also reads
"The Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all contests
"Each Commission shall decide by a majority vote of all its Members any relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-
case or matter brought before it within sixty days from the date of its President, and may promulgate its rules for the purpose."
submission for decision or resolution. A case or matter is deemed submitted
for decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or
The provision is an innovation of the 1987 Constitution. The omission President. An election protest shall not include a petition for quo
in the 1935 and the 1973 Constitution to designate any tribunal to be warranto. A petition for quo warranto shall not include an election protest.
the sole judge of presidential and vice-presidential contests, has
constrained this Court to declare, in Lopez vs. Roxas, as not (being)
[4] Rule 14. Election Protest. - Only the registered candidate for President or
justiciable controversies or disputes involving contests on the for Vice-President of the Philippines who received the second or third
elections, returns and qualifications of the President or Vice- highest number of votes may contest the election of the President or the
President. The constitutional lapse prompted Congress, on 21 June Vice-President, as the case may be, by filing a verified petition with the
1957, to enact Republic Act No. 1793, "An Act Constituting an Clerk of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal within thirty (30) days after the
Independent Presidential Electoral Tribunal to Try, Hear and Decide proclamation of the winner.
Protests Contesting the Election of the President-Elect and the Vice-
President-Elect of the Philippines and Providing for the Manner of The rules categorically speak of the jurisdiction of the tribunal over
Hearing the Same."Republic Act 1793 designated the Chief Justice contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the
and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court to be the members "President" or "Vice-President", of the Philippines, and not of
of the tribunal. Although the subsequent adoption of the parliamentary "candidates" for President or Vice-President. A quo
form of government under the 1973 Constitution might have implicitly warranto proceeding is generally defined as being an action against a
affected Republic Act No. 1793, the statutory set-up, nonetheless, person who usurps, intrudes into, or unlawfully holds or exercises a
would now be deemed revived under the present Section 4, paragraph public office. In such context, the election contest can only
[5]

7, of the 1987 Constitution. contemplate a post-election scenario. In Rule 14, only a registered
candidate who would have received either the second or third highest
Ordinary usage would characterize a "contest" in reference to a number of votes could file an election protest. This rule again
post-election scenario. Election contests consist of either an election presupposes a post-election scenario.
protest or a quo warranto which, although two distinct remedies, would
have one objective in view, i.e., to dislodge the winning candidate from It is fair to conclude that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court,
office. A perusal of the phraseology in Rule 12, Rule 13, and Rule 14 defined by Section 4, paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution, would not
of the "Rules of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal," promulgated by include cases directly brought before it, questioning the qualifications
the Supreme Court en banc on 18 April 1992, would support this of a candidate for the presidency or vice-presidency before the
premise - elections are held.
Accordingly, G. R. No. 161434, entitled "Maria Jeanette C. Tecson,
Rule 12. Jurisdiction. - The Tribunal shall be the sole judge of all contests et al., vs. Commission on Elections et al.," and G. R. No. 161634,
relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice- entitled "Zoilo Antonio Velez vs. Ronald Allan Kelley
President of the Philippines. Poea.k.a. Fernando Poe, Jr." would have to be dismissed for want of
jurisdiction.
Rule 13. How Initiated. - An election contest is initiated by the filing of an
election protest or a petition for quo warranto against the President or Vice- The Citizenship Issue
Now, to the basic issue; it should be helpful to first give a brief There was no such term as "Philippine citizens" during the Spanish
historical background on the concept of citizenship. regime but "subjects of Spain" or "Spanish subjects." In church [13]

records, the natives were called 'indios', denoting a low regard for the
Perhaps, the earliest understanding of citizenship was that given
inhabitants of the archipelago. Spanish laws on citizenship became
by Aristotle, who, sometime in 384 to 322 B.C., described the "citizen"
highly codified during the 19th century but their sheer number made it
to refer to a man who shared in the administration of justice and in the
difficult to point to one comprehensive law.Not all of these citizenship
holding of an office. Aristotle saw its significance if only to determine
[6]

laws of Spain however, were made to apply to the Philippine Islands


the constituency of the "State," which he described as being
except for those explicitly extended by Royal Decrees. [14]

composed of such persons who would be adequate in number to


achieve a self-sufficient existence. The concept grew to include one
[7]
Spanish laws on citizenship were traced back to the Novisima
who would both govern and be governed, for which qualifications like Recopilacion, promulgated in Spain on 16 July 1805 but as to whether
autonomy, judgment and loyalty could be expected. Citizenship was the law was extended to the Philippines remained to be the subject of
seen to deal with rights and entitlements, on the one hand, and with differing views among experts; however, three royal decrees were
[15]

concomitant obligations, on the other. In its ideal setting, a citizen was


[8]
undisputably made applicable to Spaniards in the Philippines -
active in public life and fundamentally willing to submit his private the Order de la Regencia of 14 August 1841, the Royal Decree of 23
[16]

interests to the general interest of society. August 1868 specifically defining the political status of children born in
the Philippine Islands, and finally, the Ley Extranjera de Ultramar of
[17]

The concept of citizenship had undergone changes over the


04 July 1870, which was expressly made applicable to the Philippines
centuries. In the 18th century, the concept was limited, by and large,
by the Royal Decree of 13 July 1870. [18]

to civil citizenship, which established the rights necessary for


individual freedom, such as rights to property, personal liberty and The Spanish Constitution of 1876 was never extended to the
justice. Its meaning expanded during the 19th century to
[9]
Philippine Islands because of the express mandate of its Article 89,
include political citizenship, which encompassed the right to according to which the provisions of the Ultramar among which this
participate in the exercise of political power. The 20th century saw
[10]
country was included, would be governed by special laws. [19]

the next stage of the development of social citizenship, which laid


It was only the Civil Code of Spain, made effective in this
emphasis on the right of the citizen to economic well-being and social
jurisdiction on 18 December 1889, which came out with the first
security. The idea of citizenship has gained expression in the modern
[11]

categorical enumeration of who were Spanish citizens. -


welfare state as it so developed in Western Europe. An ongoing and
final stage of development, in keeping with the rapidly shrinking global (a) Persons born in Spanish territory,
village, might well be the internationalization of citizenship.
[12]

(b) Children of a Spanish father or mother, even if they were born


outside of Spain,
The Local Setting - from Spanish
Times to the Present (c) Foreigners who have obtained naturalization papers,
(d) Those who, without such papers, may have become domiciled "The civil rights and political status of the native inhabitants of the
inhabitants of any town of the Monarchy. [20]
territories hereby ceded to the United States shall be determined by the
Congress." [22]

The year 1898 was another turning point in Philippine


history. Already in the state of decline as a superpower, Spain was Upon the ratification of the treaty, and pending legislation by the United
forced to so cede her sole colony in the East to an upcoming world States Congress on the subject, the native inhabitants of the
power, the United States. An accepted principle of international law Philippines ceased to be Spanish subjects. Although they did not
dictated that a change in sovereignty, while resulting in an abrogation become American citizens, they, however, also ceased to be "aliens"
of all political laws then in force, would have no effect on civil laws, under American laws and were thus issued passports describing them
which would remain virtually intact. to be citizens of the Philippines entitled to the protection of the United
States.
The Treaty of Paris was entered into on 10 December 1898
between Spain and the United States. Under Article IX of the treaty,
[21]
The term "citizens of the Philippine Islands" appeared for the first
the civil rights and political status of the native inhabitants of the time in the Philippine Bill of 1902, also commonly referred to as the
territories ceded to the United States would be determined by its Philippine Organic Act of 1902, the first comprehensive legislation of
Congress - the Congress of the United States on the Philippines -

"Spanish subjects, natives of the Peninsula, residing in the territory over ".... that all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands continuing to reside
which Spain by the present treaty relinquishes or cedes her sovereignty may therein, who were Spanish subjects on the 11th day of April, 1891, and then
remain in such territory or may remove therefrom, retaining in either event resided in said Islands, and their children born subsequent thereto, shall be
all their rights of property, including the right to sell or dispose of such deemed and held to be citizens of the Philippine Islands and as such
property or of its proceeds; and they shall also have the right to carry on entitled to the protection of the United States, except such as shall have
their industry, commerce, and professions, being subject in respect thereof elected to preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain in accordance
to such laws as are applicable to foreigners. In case they remain in the with the provisions of the treaty of peace between the United States and
territory they may preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain by Spain, signed at Paris, December tenth eighteen hundred and ninety eight." [23]

making, before a court of record, within a year from the date of the
exchange of ratifications of this treaty, a declaration of their decision to Under the organic act, a citizen of the Philippines was one who was
preserve such allegiance; in default of which declaration they shall be held an inhabitant of the Philippines, and a Spanish subject on the 11th day
to have renounced it and to have adopted the nationality of the territory in of April 1899. The term inhabitant was taken to include 1) a native-
which they reside. born inhabitant, 2) an inhabitant who was a native of Peninsular Spain,
and 3) an inhabitant who obtained Spanish papers on or before 11
Thus April 1899. [24]

Controversy arose on to the status of children born in the


Philippines from 11 April 1899 to 01 July 1902, during which period no
citizenship law was extant in the Philippines. Weight was given to the
view, articulated in jurisprudential writing at the time, that the common citizenship by those natives of the Philippine Islands who do not come
law principle of jus soli, otherwise also known as the principle of within the foregoing provisions, the natives of the insular possessions of the
territoriality, operative in the United States and England, governed United States, and such other persons residing in the Philippine Islands who
those born in the Philippine Archipelago within that period. More [25]
are citizens of the United States, or who could become citizens of the United
about this later. States under the laws of the United States, if residing therein."
In 23 March 1912, the Congress of the United States made the Under the Jones Law, a native-born inhabitant of the Philippines
following amendment to the Philippine Bill of 1902 -
was deemed to be a citizen of the Philippines as of 11 April 1899 if he
was 1) a subject of Spain on 11 April 1899, 2) residing in the
"Provided, That the Philippine Legislature is hereby authorized to provide
Philippines on said date, and, 3) since that date, not a citizen of some
by law for the acquisition of Philippine citizenship by those natives of the
other country.
Philippine Islands who do not come within the foregoing provisions, the
natives of other insular possession of the United States, and such other While there was, at one brief time, divergent views on whether or
persons residing in the Philippine Islands who would become citizens of the not jus soli was a mode of acquiring citizenship, the 1935 Constitution
United States, under the laws of the United States, if residing therein." [26]
brought to an end to any such link with common law, by adopting, once
and for all, jus sanguinis or blood relationship as being the basis of
With the adoption of the Philippine Bill of 1902, the concept of Filipino citizenship -
"Philippine citizens" had for the first time crystallized. The word
"Filipino" was used by William H. Taft, the first Civil Governor General Section 1, Article III, 1935 Constitution. The following are citizens of the
in the Philippines when he initially made mention of it in his slogan, Philippines -
"The Philippines for the Filipinos." In 1916, the Philippine Autonomy
Act, also known as the Jones Law restated virtually the provisions of (1) Those who are citizens of the Philippine Islands at the time of the
the Philippine Bill of 1902, as so amended by the Act of Congress in adoption of this Constitution
1912 -
(2) Those born in the Philippines Islands of foreign parents who, before the
That all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands who were Spanish subjects adoption of this Constitution, had been elected to public office in the
on the eleventh day of April, eighteen hundred and ninety-nine, and then Philippine Islands.
resided in said Islands, and their children born subsequently thereto, shall
be deemed and held to be citizens of the Philippine Islands, except such as (3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines.
shall have elected to preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain in
accordance with the provisions of the treaty of peace between the United (4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and upon reaching
States and Spain, signed at Paris December tenth, eighteen hundred and the age of majority, elect Philippine citizenship.
ninety-eight and except such others as have since become citizens of some
other country; Provided, That the Philippine Legislature, herein provided (5) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.
for, is hereby authorized to provide for the acquisition of Philippine
Subsection (4), Article III, of the 1935 Constitution, taken together correct the irregular situation generated by the questionableproviso in
with existing civil law provisions at the time, which provided that the 1935 Constitution.
women would automatically lose their Filipino citizenship and acquire
Section I, Article IV, 1987 Constitution now provides:
that of their foreign husbands, resulted in discriminatory situations that
effectively incapacitated the women from transmitting their Filipino The following are citizens of the Philippines:
citizenship to their legitimate children and required illegitimate children
of Filipino mothers to still elect Filipino citizenship upon reaching the (1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of
age of majority. Seeking to correct this anomaly, as well as fully this Constitution.
cognizant of the newly found status of Filipino women as equals to
men, the framers of the 1973 Constitution crafted the provisions of the (2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines.
new Constitution on citizenship to reflect such concerns -
(3) Those born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect
Section 1, Article III, 1973 Constitution - The following are citizens of the Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority; and
Philippines:
(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.
(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of
this Constitution.
The Case Of FPJ
(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines.

(3) Those who elect Philippine citizenship pursuant to the provisions of the Section 2, Article VII, of the 1987 Constitution expresses:
Constitution of nineteen hundred and thirty-five.
"No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of
(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law. the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years
of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at
For good measure, Section 2 of the same article also further least ten years immediately preceding such election."
provided that
The term "natural-born citizens," is defined to include "those who
"A female citizen of the Philippines who marries an alien retains her are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any
Philippine citizenship, unless by her act or omission she is deemed, under act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship." [27]

the law to have renounced her citizenship." The date, month and year of birth of FPJ appeared to be 20 August
1939 during the regime of the 1935 Constitution. Through its history,
The 1987 Constitution generally adopted the provisions of the four modes of acquiring citizenship - naturalization,jus soli, res
1973 Constitution, except for subsection (3) thereof that aimed to judicata and jus sanguinis had been in vogue. Only two, i.e., jus
[28]

soli and jus sanguinis, could qualify a person to being a natural-born


citizen of the Philippines. Jus soli, per Roa vs. Collector of 3. Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley were married to each other on 16
Customs (1912), did not last long. With the adoption of the 1935
[29]
September, 1940;
Constitution and the reversal of Roa in Tan Chong vs. Secretary of
Labor (1947), jus sanguinis or blood relationship would now become
[30] 4. The father of Allan F. Poe was Lorenzo Poe; and
the primary basis of citizenship by birth.
5. At the time of his death on 11 September 1954, Lorenzo Poe was
Documentary evidence adduced by petitioner would tend to 84 years old.
indicate that the earliest established direct ascendant of FPJ was his
paternal grandfather Lorenzo Pou, married to Marta Reyes, the father Would the above facts be sufficient or insufficient to establish the
of Allan F. Poe. While the record of birth of Lorenzo Pou had not been fact that FPJ is a natural-born Filipino citizen? The marriage certificate
presented in evidence, his death certificate, however, identified him to of Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley, the birth certificate of FPJ, and the
be a Filipino, a resident of San Carlos, Pangasinan, and 84 years old death certificate of Lorenzo Pou are documents of public record in the
at the time of his death on 11 September 1954. The certificate of birth custody of a public officer. The documents have been submitted in
of the father of FPJ, Allan F. Poe, showed that he was born on 17 May evidence by both contending parties during the proceedings before the
1915 to an Espaol father, Lorenzo Pou, and a mestiza Espaol mother, COMELEC.
Marta Reyes. Introduced by petitioner was an uncertified copy of a
supposed certificate of the alleged marriage of Allan F. Poe and The birth certificate of FPJ was marked Exhibit "A" for petitioner
Paulita Gomez on 05 July 1936. The marriage certificate of Allan F. and Exhibit "3" for respondent. The marriage certificate of Allan F. Poe
Poe and Bessie Kelley reflected the date of their marriage to be on 16 to Bessie Kelley was submitted as Exhibit "21" for respondent. The
September 1940. In the same certificate, Allan F. Poe was stated to death certificate of Lorenzo Pou was submitted by respondent as his
be twenty-five years old, unmarried, and a Filipino citizen, and Bessie Exhibit "5." While the last two documents were submitted in evidence
Kelley to be twenty-two years old, unmarried, and an American for respondent, the admissibility thereof, particularly in reference to the
citizen. The birth certificate of FPJ, would disclose that he was born facts which they purported to show, i.e., the marriage certificate in
on 20 August 1939 to Allan F. Poe, a Filipino, twenty-four years old, relation to the date of marriage of Allan F. Poe to Bessie Kelley and
married to Bessie Kelly, an American citizen, twenty-one years old and the death certificate relative to the death of Lorenzo Pou on 11
married. September 1954 in San Carlos, Pangasinan, were all admitted by
petitioner, who had utilized those material statements in his
Considering the reservations made by the parties on the veracity argument. All three documents were certified true copies of the
of some of the entries on the birth certificate of respondent and the originals.
marriage certificate of his parents, the only conclusions that could be
drawn with some degree of certainty from the documents would be Section 3, Rule 130, Rules of Court states that -
that -
Original document must be produced; exceptions. - When the subject of
1. The parents of FPJ were Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley; inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other
than the original document itself, except in the following cases:
2. FPJ was born to them on 20 August 1939;
xxxxxxxxx that the place of residence of a person at the time of his death was
also his residence before death. It would be extremely doubtful if the
(d) When the original is a public record in the custody of a public office or Records Management and Archives Office would have had complete
is recorded in a public office. records of all residents of the Philippines from 1898 to 1902.

Being public documents, the death certificate of Lorenzo Pou, the


marriage certificate of Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelly, and the birth Proof of Paternity and Filiation
certificate of FPJ, constitute prima facie proof of their Under Civil Law.
contents. Section 44, Rule 130, of the Rules of Court provides:
Petitioner submits, in any case, that in establishing filiation
Entries in official records. Entries in official records made in the
(relationship or civil status of the child to the father [or mother]) or
performance of his duty by a public officer of the Philippines, or by a
paternity (relationship or civil status of the father to the child) of an
person in the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law, are prima
illegitimate child, FPJ evidently being an illegitimate son according to
facieevidence of the facts therein stated.
petitioner, the mandatory rules under civil law must be used.
The trustworthiness of public documents and the value given to the Under the Civil Code of Spain, which was in force in the Philippines
entries made therein could be grounded on 1) the sense of official duty from 08 December 1889 up until the day prior to 30 August 1950 when
in the preparation of the statement made, 2) the penalty which is the Civil Code of the Philippines took effect, acknowledgment was
usually affixed to a breach of that duty, 3) the routine and disinterested required to establish filiation or paternity. Acknowledgment was either
origin of most such statements, and 4) the publicity of record which judicial (compulsory) or voluntary. Judicial or compulsory
makes more likely the prior exposure of such errors as might have acknowledgment was possible only if done during the lifetime of the
occurred. [31]
putative parent; voluntary acknowledgment could only be had in a
The death certificate of Lorenzo Pou would indicate that he died record of birth, a will, or a public document. Complementary to the
[32]

on 11 September 1954, at the age of 84 years, in San Carlos, new code was Act No. 3753 or the Civil Registry Law expressing in
Pangasinan. It could thus be assumed that Lorenzo Pou was born Section 5 thereof, that -
sometime in the year 1870 when the Philippines was still a colony of
In case of an illegitimate child, the birth certificate shall be signed and
Spain. Petitioner would argue that Lorenzo Pou was not in the
sworn to jointly by the parents of the infant or only by the mother if the
Philippines during the crucial period of from 1898 to 1902 considering
father refuses. In the latter case, it shall not be permissible to state or reveal
that there was no existing record about such fact in the Records
in the document the name of the father who refuses to acknowledge the
Management and Archives Office. Petitioner, however, likewise failed
child, or to give therein any information by which such father could be
to show that Lorenzo Pou was at any other place during the same
identified.
period. In his death certificate, the residence of Lorenzo Pou was
stated to be San Carlos, Pangasinan. In the absence of any evidence
In order that the birth certificate could then be utilized to prove
to the contrary, it should be sound to conclude, or at least to presume,
voluntary acknowledgment of filiation or paternity, the certificate was
required to be signed or sworn to by the father. The failure of such The 1950 Civil Code categorized the acknowledgment or
requirement rendered the same useless as being an authoritative recognition of illegitimate children into voluntary, legal or
document of recognition. In Mendoza vs. Mella, the Court ruled -
[33] [34]
compulsory. Voluntary recognition was required to be expressedly
made in a record of birth, a will, a statement before a court of record
"Since Rodolfo was born in 1935, after the registry law was enacted, the or in any authentic writing. Legal acknowledgment took place in favor
question here really is whether or not his birth certificate (Exhibit 1), which of full blood brothers and sisters of an illegitimate child who was
is merely a certified copy of the registry record, may be relied upon as recognized or judicially declared as natural. Compulsory
sufficient proof of his having been voluntarily recognized. No such reliance, acknowledgment could be demanded generally in cases when the
in our judgment, may be placed upon it. While it contains the names of both child had in his favor any evidence to prove filiation. Unlike an action
parents, there is no showing that they signed the original, let alone swore to to claim legitimacy which would last during the lifetime of the child, and
its contents as required in Section 5 of Act No. 3753. For all that might have might pass exceptionally to the heirs of the child, an action to claim
happened, it was not even they or either of them who furnished the data to acknowledgment, however, could only be brought during the lifetime
be entered in the civil register. Petitioners say that in any event the birth of the presumed parent.
certificate is in the nature of a public document wherein voluntary
recognition of a natural child may also be made, according to the same Amicus Curiae Ruben F. Balane defined, during the oral argument,
Article 131. True enough, but in such a case, there must be a clear statement "authentic writing," so as to be an authentic writing for purposes of
in the document that the parent recognizes the child as his or her own." voluntary recognition, simply as being a genuine or indubitable writing
of the father. The term would include a public instrument (one duly
In the birth certificate of respondent FPJ, presented by both acknowledged before a notary public or other competent official) or a
parties, nowhere in the document was the signature of Allan F. Poe private writing admitted by the father to be his.
found. There being no will apparently executed, or at least shown to The Family Code has further liberalized the rules; Article 172,
have been executed, by decedent Allan F. Poe, the only other proof of Article 173, and Article 175 provide:
voluntary recognition remained to be "some other public
document." In Pareja vs. Pareja, this Court defined what could
[35]
Art. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the
constitute such a document as proof of voluntary acknowledgment: following:

"Under the Spanish Civil Code there are two classes of public documents, (1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or
those executed by private individuals which must be authenticated by
notaries, and those issued by competent public officials by reason of their (2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private
office. The public document pointed out in Article 131 as one of the means handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned.
by which recognition may be made belongs to the first class."
In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be
Let us leave it at that for the moment. proved by:
(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; Philippines. Article 2260 of that Code provides that 'the voluntary
or recognition of a natural child shall take place according to this Code, even if
the child was born before the effectivity of this body of laws' or before
(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. August 30, 1950. Hence, Article 278 may be given retroactive effect."

Art. 173. The action to claim legitimacy may be brought by the child during It should be apparent that the growing trend to liberalize the
his or her lifetime and shall be transmitted to the heirs should the child die acknowledgment or recognition of illegitimate children is an attempt to
during minority or in a state of insanity. In these cases, the heirs shall have a break away from the traditional idea of keeping well apart legitimate
period of five years within which to institute the action. and non-legitimate relationships within the family in favor of the greater
interest and welfare of the child. The provisions are intended to merely
The action already commenced by the child shall survive notwithstanding govern the private and personal affairs of the family. There is little, if
the death of either or both of the parties. any, to indicate that the legitimate or illegitimate civil status of the
individual would also affect his political rights or, in general, his
x x x x x x x x x. relationship to the State. While, indeed, provisions on "citizenship"
could be found in the Civil Code, such provisions must be taken in the
Art. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the context of private relations, the domain of civil law; particularly -
same way and on the same, evidence as legitimate children.
"Civil Law is that branch of law which has for its double purpose the
The action must be brought within the same period specified in Article 173, organization of the family and the regulation of property. It has thus [been]
except when the action is based on the second paragraph of Article 172, in defined as the mass of precepts which determine and regulate the relations
which case the action may be brought during the lifetime of the alleged of assistance, authority and obedience among members of a family, and
parent. those which exist among members of a society for the protection of private
interests."
[37]

The provisions of the Family Code are retroactively applied; Article


256 of the code reads: In Yaez de Barnuevo vs. Fuster, the Court has held:
[38]

"Art. 256. This Code shall have retroactive effect insofar as it does not "In accordance with Article 9 of the Civil Code of Spain, x x x the laws
prejudice or impair vested or acquired rights in accordance with the Civil relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal
Code or other laws. capacity of persons, govern Spaniards although they reside in a foreign
country; that, in consequence, 'all questions of a civil nature, such as those
Thus, in Vda. de Sy-Quia vs. Court of Appeals, the Court has
[36]

dealing with the validity or nullity of the matrimonial bond, the domicile of
ruled:
the husband and wife, their support, as between them, the separation of their
"We hold that whether Jose was a voluntarily recognized natural child properties, the rules governing property, marital authority, division of
should be decided under Article 278 of the Civil Code of the conjugal property, the classification of their property, legal causes for
divorce, the extent of the latter, the authority to decree it, and, in general,
the civil effects of marriage and divorce upon the persons and properties of The proof of filiation or paternity for purposes of determining his
the spouses, are questions that are governed exclusively by the national law citizenship status should thus be deemed independent from and not
of the husband and wife." inextricably tied up with that prescribed for civil law purposes. The Civil
Code or Family Code provisions on proof of filiation or paternity,
The relevance of "citizenship" or "nationality" to Civil Law is best although good law, do not have preclusive effects on matters alien to
exemplified in Article 15 of the Civil Code, stating that - personal and family relations. The ordinary rules on evidence could
well and should govern. For instance, the matter about pedigree is not
"Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and necessarily precluded from being applicable by the Civil Code or
legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even Family Code provisions.
though living abroad" -
Section 39, Rule 130, of the Rules of Court provides -
that explains the need to incorporate in the code a reiteration of the
Constitutional provisions on citizenship. Similarly, citizenship is Act or Declaration about pedigree. The act or declaration of a person
significant in civil relationships found in different parts of the Civil deceased, or unable to testify, in respect to the pedigree of another person
Code, such as on successional rights and family relations. In
[39] [40]
related to him by birth or marriage, may be received in evidence where it
adoption, for instance, an adopted child would be considered the child occurred before the controversy, and the relationship between the two
of his adoptive parents and accorded the same rights as their persons is shown by evidence other than such act or declaration. The word
legitimate child but such legal fiction extended only to define his rights `pedigree includes relationship, family genealogy, birth, marriage, death, the
under civil law and not his political status.
[41] dates when and the places where these facts occurred, and the names of the
relatives. It embraces also facts of family history intimately connected with
Civil law provisions point to an obvious bias against pedigree.
illegitimacy. This discriminatory attitude may be traced to the Spanish
family and property laws, which, while defining proprietary and For the above rule to apply, it would be necessary that (a) the
successional rights of members of the family, provided distinctions in declarant is already dead or unable to testify, (b) the pedigree of a
the rights of legitimate and illegitimate children. In the monarchial set- person must be at issue, (c) the declarant must be a relative of the
up of old Spain, the distribution and inheritance of titles and wealth person whose pedigree is in question, (d) declaration must be made
were strictly according to bloodlines and the concern to keep these before the controversy has occurred, and (e) the relationship between
bloodlines uncontaminated by foreign blood was paramount. the declarant and the person whose pedigree is in question must be
These distinctions between legitimacy and illegitimacy were shown by evidence other than such act or declaration.
codified in the Spanish Civil Code, and the invidious discrimination Thus, the duly notarized declaration made by Ruby Kelley
survived when the Spanish Civil Code became the primary source of Mangahas, sister of Bessie Kelley Poe submitted as Exhibit 20 before
our own Civil Code. Such distinction, however, remains and should the COMELEC, might be accepted to prove the acts of Allan F. Poe,
remain only in the sphere of civil law and not unduly impede or impinge recognizing his own paternal relationship with FPJ, i.e, living together
on the domain of political law. with Bessie Kelley and his children (including respondent FPJ) in one
house, and as one family -
"I, Ruby Kelley Mangahas, of legal age and sound mind, presently residing 18. I am executing this Declaration to attest to the fact that my
in Stockton, California, U.S.A., after being sworn in accordance with law do nephew, Ronald Allan Poe is a natural born Filipino, and that
hereby declare that: he is the legitimate child of Fernando Poe, Sr.

1. I am the sister of the late Bessie Kelley Poe. Done in City of Stockton, California, U.S.A., this 12th day of
January 2004.
2. Bessie Kelley Poe was the wife of Fernando Poe, Sr.
Ruby Kelley Mangahas
3. Fernando and Bessie Poe had a son by the name of Ronald Allan
Poe, more popularly known in the Philippines as `Fernando Declarant
Poe, Jr., or `FPJ.

4. Ronald Allan Poe `FPJ was born on August 20, 1939 at St. Luke's DNA Testing
Hospital, Magdalena Street, Manila.
In case proof of filiation or paternity would be unlikely to
xxxxxxxxx
satisfactorily establish or would be difficult to obtain, DNA testing,
which examines genetic codes obtained from body cells of the
7. Fernando Poe Sr., and my sister Bessie, met and became engaged
illegitimate child and any physical residue of the long dead parent
while they were students at the University of the Philippines in
could be resorted to. A positive match would clear up filiation or
1936. I was also introduced to Fernando Poe, Sr., by my sister
paternity. In Tijing vs. Court of Appeals, this Court has
[42]
that same year.
acknowledged the strong weight of DNA testing -
8. Fernando Poe, Sr., and my sister Bessie had their first child in
"Parentage will still be resolved using conventional methods unless we
1938.
adopt the modern and scientific ways available. Fortunately, we have now
9. Fernando Poe, Sr., my sister Bessie and their first three children, the facility and expertise in using DNA test for identification and parentage
Elizabeth, Ronald, Allan and Fernando II, and myself lived testing. The University of the Philippines Natural Science Research Institute
together with our mother at our family's house on Dakota St. (UP-NSRI) DNA Analysis Laboratory has now the capability to conduct
(now Jorge Bocobo St.), Malate until the liberation of Manila DNA typing using short tandem repeat (STR) analysis. The analysis is
in 1945, except for some months between 1943-1944. based on the fact that the DNA of a child/person has two (2) copies, one
copy from the mother and the other from the father. The DNA from the
10. Fernando Poe, Sr., and my sister, Bessie, were blessed with four mother, the alleged father and the child are analyzed to establish
(4) more children after Ronald Allan Poe. parentage.Of course, being a novel scientific technique, the use of DNA test
as evidence is still open to challenge. Eventually, as the appropriate case
xxxxxxxxx comes, courts should not hesitate to rule on the admissibility of DNA
evidence. For it was said, that courts should apply the results of science dictum which did not establish doctrine. I therefore invite the Court to look
when competently obtained in aid of situations presented, since to reject closely into these cases.
said result is to deny progress."
First, Morano vs. Vivo. The case was not about an illegitimate child of a
Filipino father. It was about a stepson of a Filipino, a stepson who was the
Petitioners Argument For child of a Chinese mother and a Chinese father. The issue was whether the
Jurisprudential Conclusiveness stepson followed the naturalization of the stepfather. Nothing about jus
sanguinis there. The stepson did not have the blood of the naturalized
Petitioner would have it that even if Allan F. Poe were a Filipino stepfather.
citizen, he could not have transmitted his citizenship to respondent
Second, Chiongbian vs. de Leon. This case was not about the illegitimate
FPJ, the latter being an illegitimate child. According to petitioner, prior
son of a Filipino father. It was about a legitimate son of a father who had
to his marriage to Bessie Kelley, Allan F. Poe, on July 5, 1936,
become Filipino by election to public office before the 1935 Constitution
contracted marriage with a certain Paulita Gomez, making his
pursuant to Article IV, Section 1(2) of the 1935 Constitution. No one was
subsequent marriage to Bessie Kelley bigamous and respondent FPJ
illegitimate here.
an illegitimate child. The veracity of the supposed certificate of
marriage between Allan F. Poe and Paulita Gomez could be most
Third, Serra vs. Republic. The case was not about the illegitimate son of a
doubtful at best. But the documentary evidence introduced by no less
Filipino father. Serra was an illegitimate child of a Chinese father and a
than respondent himself, consisting of a birth certificate of respondent
Filipino mother. The issue was whether one who was already a Filipino
and a marriage certificate of his parents showed that FPJ was born on
because of his mother who still needed to be naturalized. There is nothing
20 August 1939 to a Filipino father and an American mother who were
there about invidious jus sanguinis.
married to each other a year later, or on 16 September 1940. Birth to
unmarried parents would make FPJ an illegitimate child. Petitioner Finally, Paa vs. Chan. This is a more complicated case. The case was
[46]

contended that as an illegitimate child, FPJ so followed the citizenship about the citizenship of Quintin Chan who was the son of Leoncio
of his mother, Bessie Kelley, an American citizen, basing his stand on Chan. Quintin Chan claimed that his father, Leoncio, was the illegitimate
the ruling of this Court in Morano vs. Vivo, citingChiongbian vs. de
[43]
son of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother. Quintin therefore argued that
Leon and Serra vs. Republic.
[44] [45]
he got his citizenship from Leoncio, his father. But the Supreme Court said
On the above score, the disquisition made by amicus that there was no valid proof that Leoncio was in fact the son of a Filipina
curiae Joaquin G. Bernas, SJ, is most convincing; he states - mother. The Court therefore concluded that Leoncio was not Filipino. If
Leoncio was not Filipino, neither was his son Quintin. Quintin therefore
"We must analyze these cases and ask what the lis mota was in each of was not only not a natural-born Filipino but was not even a Filipino.
them. If the pronouncement of the Court on jus sanguinis was on the lis
mota, the pronouncement would be a decision constituting doctrine under The Court should have stopped there. But instead it followed with an obiter
the rule of stare decisis. But if the pronouncement was irrelevant to the lis dictum. The Court said obiter that even if Leoncio, Quintin's father, were
mota, the pronouncement would not be a decision but a mere obiter Filipino, Quintin would not be Filipino because Quintin was
illegitimate.This statement about Quintin, based on a contrary to fact petitioner, unfortunately hinging solely on pure obiter dicta, should
assumption, was absolutely unnecessary for the case. x x x It was obiter indeed fail.
dictum, pure and simple, simply repeating the obiter dictum in Morano vs.
Where jurisprudence regarded an illegitimate child as taking after
Vivo.
the citizenship of its mother, it did so for the benefit the child. It was to
xxxxxxxxx ensure a Filipino nationality for the illegitimate child of an alien father
in line with the assumption that the mother had custody, would
"Aside from the fact that such a pronouncement would have no textual exercise parental authority and had the duty to support her illegitimate
foundation in the Constitution, it would also violate the equal protection child. It was to help the child, not to prejudice or discriminate against
clause of the Constitution not once but twice. First, it would make an him.
illegitimate distinction between a legitimate child and an illegitimate child, The fact of the matter perhaps the most significant consideration
and second, it would make an illegitimate distinction between the is that the 1935 Constitution, the fundamental law prevailing on the
illegitimate child of a Filipino father and the illegitimate child of a Filipino day, month and year of birth of respondent FPJ, can never be more
mother. explicit than it is. Providing neither conditions nor distinctions, the
Constitution states that among the citizens of the Philippines are those
The doctrine on constitutionally allowable distinctions was established long whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines.There utterly is no cogent
ago by People vs. Cayat. I would grant that the distinction between
[47]
justification to prescribe conditions or distinctions where there clearly
legitimate children and illegitimate children rests on real differences. x x are none provided.
x But real differences alone do not justify invidious distinction. Real
differences may justify distinction for one purpose but not for another
purpose. In Sum

x x x What is the relevance of legitimacy or illegitimacy to elective public


service? What possible state interest can there be for disqualifying an (1) The Court, in the exercise of its power of judicial review,
illegitimate child from becoming a public officer. It was not the fault of the possesses jurisdiction over the petition in G. R. No. 161824, filed
child that his parents had illicit liaison. Why deprive the child of the fullness under Rule 64, in relation to Rule 65, of the Revised Rules of Civil
of political rights for no fault of his own? To disqualify an illegitimate child Procedure. G.R. No. 161824 assails the resolution of the COMELEC
from holding an important public office is to punish him for the indiscretion for alleged grave abuse of discretion in dismissing, for lack of merit,
of his parents. There is neither justice nor rationality in that. And if there is the petition in SPA No. 04-003 which has prayed for the
neither justice nor rationality in the distinction, then the distinction disqualification of respondent FPJ from running for the position of
transgresses the equal protection clause and must be reprobated. President in the 10th May 2004 national elections on the contention
that FPJ has committed material representation in his certificate of
The other amici curiae, Mr. Justice Vicente Mendoza (a former candidacy by representing himself to be a natural-born citizen of the
member of this Court), Professor Ruben Balane and Dean Martin Philippines.
Magallona, at bottom, have expressed similar views. The thesis of
(2) The Court must dismiss, for lack of jurisdiction and prematurity, has utterly failed to substantiate his case before the Court,
the petitions in G. R. No. 161434 and No. 161634 both having been notwithstanding the ample opportunity given to the parties to present
directly elevated to this Court in the latters capacity as the only tribunal their position and evidence, and to prove whether or not there has
to resolve a presidential and vice-presidential election contest under been material misrepresentation, which, as so ruled in Romualdez-
the Constitution. Evidently, the primary jurisdiction of the Court can Marcos vs. COMELEC, must not only be material, but also deliberate
[48]

directly be invoked only after, not before, the elections are held. and willful.
(3) In ascertaining, in G.R. No. 161824, whether grave abuse of WHEREFORE, the Court RESOLVES to DISMISS
discretion has been committed by the COMELEC, it is necessary to
1. G. R. No. 161434, entitled "Maria Jeanette C. Tecson and Felix
take on the matter of whether or not respondent FPJ is a natural-born
B. Desiderio, Jr., Petitioners, versus Commission on Elections,
citizen, which, in turn, depended on whether or not the father of
Ronald Allan Kelley Poe (a.k.a. "Fernando Poe, Jr.,) and Victorino X.
respondent, Allan F. Poe, would have himself been a Filipino citizen
Fornier, Respondents," and G. R. No. 161634, entitled "Zoilo Antonio
and, in the affirmative, whether or not the alleged illegitimacy of
Velez, Petitioner, versus Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, a.k.a. Fernando
respondent prevents him from taking after the Filipino citizenship of
Poe, Jr., Respondent," for want of jurisdiction.
his putative father. Any conclusion on the Filipino citizenship of
Lorenzo Pou could only be drawn from the presumption that having 2. G. R. No. 161824, entitled Victorino X. Fornier,
died in 1954 at 84 years old, Lorenzo would have been born sometime Petitioner, versus Hon. Commission on Elections and Ronald Allan
in the year 1870, when the Philippines was under Spanish rule, and Kelley Poe, also known as Fernando Poe, Jr., for failure to show grave
that San Carlos, Pangasinan, his place of residence upon his death in abuse of discretion on the part of respondent Commission on
1954, in the absence of any other evidence, could have well been his Elections in dismissing the petition in SPA No. 04-003.
place of residence before death, such that Lorenzo Pou would have No Costs.
benefited from the en masse Filipinization that the Philippine Bill had
effected in 1902. That citizenship (of Lorenzo Pou), if acquired, would SO ORDERED.
thereby extend to his son, Allan F. Poe, father of respondent FPJ. The
1935 Constitution, during which regime respondent FPJ has seen first
light, confers citizenship to all persons whose fathers are Filipino
citizens regardless of whether such children are legitimate or
illegitimate.
(4) But while the totality of the evidence may not establish
conclusively that respondent FPJ is a natural-born citizen of the
Philippines, the evidence on hand still would preponderate in his favor
enough to hold that he cannot be held guilty of having made a material
misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy in violation of Section
78, in relation to Section 74, of the Omnibus Election Code. Petitioner
G.R. No. 182836 October 13, 2009 Section 2. BEREAVEMENT LEAVE—The Company agrees to grant a bereavement
leave with pay to any employee in case of death of the employee’s legitimate
CONTINENTAL STEEL MANUFACTURING CORPORATION, Petitioner, dependent (parents, spouse, children, brothers and sisters) based on the following:

vs. 2.1 Within Metro Manila up to Marilao, Bulacan – 7 days

HON. ACCREDITED VOLUNTARY ARBITRATOR ALLAN S. MONTAÑO 2.2 Provincial/Outside Metro Manila – 11 days
and NAGKAKAISANG MANGGAGAWA NG CENTRO STEEL
CORPORATION-SOLIDARITY OF UNIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES FOR xxxx
EMPOWERMENT AND REFORMS (NMCSC-SUPER), Respondents.
ARTICLE XVIII: OTHER BENEFITS

xxxx
DECISION
Section 4. DEATH AND ACCIDENT INSURANCE—The Company shall grant
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: death and accidental insurance to the employee or his family in the following manner:

Before Us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari, under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, xxxx
assailing the Decision1 dated 27 February 2008 and the Resolution2 dated 9 May 2008
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 101697, affirming the Resolution3 dated 4.3 DEPENDENTS—Eleven Thousand Five Hundred Fifty Pesos (Php11,550.00) in
20 November 2007 of respondent Accredited Voluntary Arbitrator Atty. Allan S. case of death of the employees legitimate dependents (parents, spouse, and children).
Montaño (Montaño) granting bereavement leave and other death benefits to Rolando In case the employee is single, this benefit covers the legitimate parents, brothers and
P. Hortillano (Hortillano), grounded on the death of his unborn child. sisters only with proper legal document to be presented (e.g. death certificate).4

The antecedent facts of the case are as follows: The claim was based on the death of Hortillano’s unborn child. Hortillano’s wife,
Marife V. Hortillano, had a premature delivery on 5 January 2006 while she was in
Hortillano, an employee of petitioner Continental Steel Manufacturing Corporation the 38th week of pregnancy.5 According to the Certificate of Fetal Death dated 7
(Continental Steel) and a member of respondent Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng January 2006, the female fetus died during labor due to fetal Anoxia secondary to
Centro Steel Corporation-Solidarity of Trade Unions in the Philippines for uteroplacental insufficiency.6
Empowerment and Reforms (Union) filed on 9 January 2006, a claim for Paternity
Leave, Bereavement Leave and Death and Accident Insurance for dependent, Continental Steel immediately granted Hortillano’s claim for paternity leave but
pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) concluded between denied his claims for bereavement leave and other death benefits, consisting of the
Continental and the Union, which reads: death and accident insurance.7

ARTICLE X: LEAVE OF ABSENCE Seeking the reversal of the denial by Continental Steel of Hortillano’s claims for
bereavement and other death benefits, the Union resorted to the grievance machinery
xxxx provided in the CBA. Despite the series of conferences held, the parties still failed to
settle their dispute,8 prompting the Union to file a Notice to Arbitrate before the
National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) of the Department of Labor and On the other hand, Continental Steel posited that the express provision of the CBA
Employment (DOLE), National Capital Region (NCR).9 In a Submission Agreement did not contemplate the death of an unborn child, a fetus, without legal personality. It
dated 9 October 2006, the Union and Continental Steel submitted for voluntary claimed that there are two elements for the entitlement to the benefits, namely: (1)
arbitration the sole issue of whether Hortillano was entitled to bereavement leave and death and (2) status as legitimate dependent, none of which existed in Hortillano’s
other death benefits pursuant to Article X, Section 2 and Article XVIII, Section 4.3 of case. Continental Steel, relying on Articles 40, 41 and 4216 of the Civil Code,
the CBA.10 The parties mutually chose Atty. Montaño, an Accredited Voluntary contended that only one with civil personality could die. Hence, the unborn child
Arbitrator, to resolve said issue.11 never died because it never acquired juridical personality. Proceeding from the same
line of thought, Continental Steel reasoned that a fetus that was dead from the
When the preliminary conferences again proved futile in amicably settling the moment of delivery was not a person at all. Hence, the term dependent could not be
dispute, the parties proceeded to submit their respective Position applied to a fetus that never acquired juridical personality. A fetus that was delivered
Papers, 12 Replies,13 and Rejoinders14 to Atty. Montaño. dead could not be considered a dependent, since it never needed any support, nor did
it ever acquire the right to be supported.
The Union argued that Hortillano was entitled to bereavement leave and other death
benefits pursuant to the CBA. The Union maintained that Article X, Section 2 and Continental Steel maintained that the wording of the CBA was clear and
Article XVIII, Section 4.3 of the CBA did not specifically state that the dependent unambiguous. Since neither of the parties qualified the terms used in the CBA, the
should have first been born alive or must have acquired juridical personality so that legally accepted definitions thereof were deemed automatically accepted by both
his/her subsequent death could be covered by the CBA death benefits. The Union parties. The failure of the Union to have unborn child included in the definition of
cited cases wherein employees of MKK Steel Corporation (MKK Steel) and Mayer dependent, as used in the CBA – the death of whom would have qualified the parent-
Steel Pipe Corporation (Mayer Steel), sister companies of Continental Steel, in employee for bereavement leave and other death benefits – bound the Union to the
similar situations as Hortillano were able to receive death benefits under similar legally accepted definition of the latter term.
provisions of their CBAs.
Continental Steel, lastly, averred that similar cases involving the employees of its
The Union mentioned in particular the case of Steve L. Dugan (Dugan), an employee sister companies, MKK Steel and Mayer Steel, referred to by the Union, were
of Mayer Steel, whose wife also prematurely delivered a fetus, which had already irrelevant and incompetent evidence, given the separate and distinct personalities of
died prior to the delivery. Dugan was able to receive paternity leave, bereavement the companies. Neither could the Union sustain its claim that the grant of
leave, and voluntary contribution under the CBA between his union and Mayer bereavement leave and other death benefits to the parent-employee for the loss of an
Steel.15 Dugan’s child was only 24 weeks in the womb and died before labor, as unborn child constituted “company practice.”
opposed to Hortillano’s child who was already 37-38 weeks in the womb and only
died during labor. On 20 November 2007, Atty. Montaño, the appointed Accredited Voluntary
Arbitrator, issued a Resolution17 ruling that Hortillano was entitled to bereavement
The Union called attention to the fact that MKK Steel and Mayer Steel are located in leave with pay and death benefits.
the same compound as Continental Steel; and the representatives of MKK Steel and
Mayer Steel who signed the CBA with their respective employees’ unions were the Atty. Montaño identified the elements for entitlement to said benefits, thus:
same as the representatives of Continental Steel who signed the existing CBA with
the Union. This Office declares that for the entitlement of the benefit of bereavement leave with
pay by the covered employees as provided under Article X, Section 2 of the parties’
Finally, the Union invoked Article 1702 of the Civil Code, which provides that all CBA, three (3) indispensable elements must be present: (1) there is “death”; (2) such
doubts in labor legislations and labor contracts shall be construed in favor of the death must be of employee’s “dependent”; and (3) such dependent must be
safety of and decent living for the laborer. “legitimate”.
On the other hand, for the entitlement to benefit for death and accident insurance as acquire any juridical personality. Continental Steel pointed out that its contention was
provided under Article XVIII, Section 4, paragraph (4.3) of the parties’ CBA, four (4) bolstered by the fact that the term death was qualified by the phrase legitimate
indispensable elements must be present: (a) there is “death”; (b) such death must be dependent. It asserted that the status of a child could only be determined upon said
of employee’s “dependent”; (c) such dependent must be “legitimate”; and (d) proper child’s birth, otherwise, no such appellation can be had. Hence, the conditions sine
legal document to be presented.18 qua non for Hortillano’s entitlement to bereavement leave and other death benefits
under the CBA were lacking.
Atty. Montaño found that there was no dispute that the death of an employee’s
legitimate dependent occurred. The fetus had the right to be supported by the parents The Court of Appeals, in its Decision dated 27 February 2008, affirmed Atty.
from the very moment he/she was conceived. The fetus had to rely on another for Montaño’s Resolution dated 20 November 2007. The appellate court interpreted
support; he/she could not have existed or sustained himself/herself without the power death to mean as follows:
or aid of someone else, specifically, his/her mother. Therefore, the fetus was already a
dependent, although he/she died during the labor or delivery. There was also no [Herein petitioner Continental Steel’s] exposition on the legal sense in which the term
question that Hortillano and his wife were lawfully married, making their dependent, “death” is used in the CBA fails to impress the Court, and the same is irrelevant for
unborn child, legitimate. ascertaining the purpose, which the grant of bereavement leave and death benefits
thereunder, is intended to serve. While there is no arguing with [Continental Steel]
In the end, Atty. Montaño decreed: that the acquisition of civil personality of a child or fetus is conditioned on being born
alive upon delivery, it does not follow that such event of premature delivery of a fetus
WHEREFORE, premises considered, a resolution is hereby rendered ORDERING could never be contemplated as a “death” as to be covered by the CBA provision,
[herein petitioner Continental Steel] to pay Rolando P. Hortillano the amount of Four undoubtedly an event causing loss and grief to the affected employee, with whom the
Thousand Nine Hundred Thirty-Nine Pesos (P4,939.00), representing his dead fetus stands in a legitimate relation. [Continental Steel] has proposed a narrow
bereavement leave pay and the amount of Eleven Thousand Five Hundred Fifty Pesos and technical significance to the term “death of a legitimate dependent” as condition
(P11,550.00) representing death benefits, or a total amount of P16,489.00 for granting bereavement leave and death benefits under the CBA. Following
[Continental Steel’s] theory, there can be no experience of “death” to speak of. The
The complaint against Manuel Sy, however, is ORDERED DISMISSED for lack of Court, however, does not share this view. A dead fetus simply cannot be equated with
merit. anything less than “loss of human life”, especially for the expectant parents. In this
light, bereavement leave and death benefits are meant to assuage the employee and
All other claims are DISMISSED for lack of merit. the latter’s immediate family, extend to them solace and support, rather than an act
conferring legal status or personality upon the unborn child. [Continental Steel’s]
Further, parties are hereby ORDERED to faithfully abide with the herein dispositions. insistence that the certificate of fetal death is for statistical purposes only sadly misses
this crucial point.20
Aggrieved, Continental Steel filed with the Court of Appeals a Petition for Review on
Certiorari,19 under Section 1, Rule 43 of the Rules of Court, docketed as CA-G.R. SP Accordingly, the fallo of the 27 February 2008 Decision of the Court of Appeals
No. 101697. reads:

Continental Steel claimed that Atty. Montaño erred in granting Hortillano’s claims for WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present petition is hereby DENIED for lack
bereavement leave with pay and other death benefits because no death of an of merit. The assailed Resolution dated November 20, 2007 of Accredited Voluntary
employee’s dependent had occurred. The death of a fetus, at whatever stage of Arbitrator Atty. Allan S. Montaño is hereby AFFIRMED and UPHELD.
pregnancy, was excluded from the coverage of the CBA since what was contemplated
by the CBA was the death of a legal person, and not that of a fetus, which did not With costs against [herein petitioner Continental Steel].21
In a Resolution22 dated 9 May 2008, the Court of Appeals denied the Motion for Art. 37. Juridical capacity, which is the fitness to be the subject of legal relations, is
Reconsideration23 of Continental Steel. inherent in every natural person and is lost only through death. Capacity to act, which
is the power to do acts with legal effect, is acquired and may be lost.
Hence, this Petition, in which Continental Steel persistently argues that the CBA is
clear and unambiguous, so that the literal and legal meaning of death should be We need not establish civil personality of the unborn child herein since his/her
applied. Only one with juridical personality can die and a dead fetus never acquired a juridical capacity and capacity to act as a person are not in issue. It is not a question
juridical personality. before us whether the unborn child acquired any rights or incurred any obligations
prior to his/her death that were passed on to or assumed by the child’s parents.The
We are not persuaded. rights to bereavement leave and other death benefits in the instant case pertain
directly to the parents of the unborn child upon the latter’s death.
As Atty. Montaño identified, the elements for bereavement leave under Article X,
Section 2 of the CBA are: (1) death; (2) the death must be of a dependent, i.e., parent, Second, Sections 40, 41 and 42 of the Civil Code do not provide at all a definition of
spouse, child, brother, or sister, of an employee; and (3) legitimate relations of the death. Moreover, while the Civil Code expressly provides that civil personality may
dependent to the employee. The requisites for death and accident insurance under be extinguished by death, it does not explicitly state that only those who have
Article XVIII, Section 4(3) of the CBA are: (1) death; (2) the death must be of a acquired juridical personality could die.
dependent, who could be a parent, spouse, or child of a married employee; or a
parent, brother, or sister of a single employee; and (4) presentation of the proper legal And third, death has been defined as the cessation of life.24 Life is not synonymous
document to prove such death, e.g., death certificate. with civil personality. One need not acquire civil personality first before he/she could
die. Even a child inside the womb already has life. No less than the Constitution
It is worthy to note that despite the repeated assertion of Continental Steel that the recognizes the life of the unborn from conception,25 that the State must protect
provisions of the CBA are clear and unambiguous, its fundamental argument for equally with the life of the mother. If the unborn already has life, then the cessation
denying Hortillano’s claim for bereavement leave and other death benefits rests on thereof even prior to the child being delivered, qualifies as death.
the purportedly proper interpretation of the terms “death” and “dependent” as used in
the CBA. If the provisions of the CBA are indeed clear and unambiguous, then there Likewise, the unborn child can be considered a dependent under the CBA. As
is no need to resort to the interpretation or construction of the same. Moreover, Continental Steel itself defines, a dependent is “one who relies on another for support;
Continental Steel itself admitted that neither management nor the Union sought to one not able to exist or sustain oneself without the power or aid of someone else.”
define the pertinent terms for bereavement leave and other death benefits during the Under said general definition,26 even an unborn child is a dependent of its parents.
negotiation of the CBA. Hortillano’s child could not have reached 38-39 weeks of its gestational life without
depending upon its mother, Hortillano’s wife, for sustenance. Additionally, it is
The reliance of Continental Steel on Articles 40, 41 and 42 of the Civil Code for the explicit in the CBA provisions in question that the dependent may be the parent,
legal definition of death is misplaced. Article 40 provides that a conceived child spouse, or child of a married employee; or the parent, brother, or sister of a single
acquires personality only when it is born, and Article 41 defines when a child is employee. The CBA did not provide a qualification for the child dependent, such that
considered born. Article 42 plainly states that civil personality is extinguished by the child must have been born or must have acquired civil personality, as Continental
death. Steel avers. Without such qualification, then child shall be understood in its more
general sense, which includes the unborn fetus in the mother’s womb.
First, the issue of civil personality is not relevant herein. Articles 40, 41 and 42 of the
Civil Code on natural persons, must be applied in relation to Article 37 of the same The term legitimate merely addresses the dependent child’s status in relation to
Code, the very first of the general provisions on civil personality, which reads: his/her parents. In Angeles v. Maglaya,27 we have expounded on who is a legitimate
child, viz:
A legitimate child is a product of, and, therefore, implies a valid and lawful marriage. Being for the benefit of the employee, CBA provisions on bereavement leave and
Remove the element of lawful union and there is strictly no legitimate filiation other death benefits should be interpreted liberally to give life to the intentions
between parents and child. Article 164 of the Family Code cannot be more emphatic thereof. Time and again, the Labor Code is specific in enunciating that in case of
on the matter: doubt in the interpretation of any law or provision affecting labor, such should be
interpreted in favor of labor.29 In the same way, the CBA and CBA provisions should
“Children conceived or born during the marriage of the parents are legitimate.” be interpreted in favor of labor. In Marcopper Mining v. National Labor Relations
(Emphasis ours.) Commission,30 we pronounced:

Conversely, in Briones v. Miguel,28 we identified an illegitimate child to be as Finally, petitioner misinterprets the declaration of the Labor Arbiter in the assailed
follows: decision that “when the pendulum of judgment swings to and fro and the forces are
equal on both sides, the same must be stilled in favor of labor.” While petitioner
The fine distinctions among the various types of illegitimate children have been acknowledges that all doubts in the interpretation of the Labor Code shall be resolved
eliminated in the Family Code. Now, there are only two classes of children — in favor of labor, it insists that what is involved-here is the amended CBA which is
legitimate (and those who, like the legally adopted, have the rights of legitimate essentially a contract between private persons. What petitioner has lost sight of is the
children) and illegitimate. All children conceived and born outside a valid marriage avowed policy of the State, enshrined in our Constitution, to accord utmost protection
are illegitimate, unless the law itself gives them legitimate status. (Emphasis ours.) and justice to labor, a policy, we are, likewise, sworn to uphold.

It is apparent that according to the Family Code and the afore-cited jurisprudence, the In Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corporation v. NLRC [183 SCRA 451 (1990)],
legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child attaches upon his/her conception. In the present we categorically stated that:
case, it was not disputed that Hortillano and his wife were validly married and that
their child was conceived during said marriage, hence, making said When conflicting interests of labor and capital are to be weighed on the scales of
child legitimate upon her conception. social justice, the heavier influence of the latter should be counter-balanced by
sympathy and compassion the law must accord the underprivileged worker.
Also incontestable is the fact that Hortillano was able to comply with the fourth
element entitling him to death and accident insurance under the CBA, i.e., Likewise, in Terminal Facilities and Services Corporation v. NLRC [199 SCRA 265
presentation of the death certificate of his unborn child. (1991)], we declared:

Given the existence of all the requisites for bereavement leave and other death Any doubt concerning the rights of labor should be resolved in its favor pursuant to
benefits under the CBA, Hortillano’s claims for the same should have been granted the social justice policy.
by Continental Steel.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Petition is DENIED. The Decision dated 27 February
We emphasize that bereavement leave and other death benefits are granted to an 2008 and Resolution dated 9 May 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
employee to give aid to, and if possible, lessen the grief of, the said employee and his 101697, affirming the Resolution dated 20 November 2007 of Accredited Voluntary
family who suffered the loss of a loved one. It cannot be said that the parents’ grief Arbitrator Atty. Allan S. Montaño, which granted to Rolando P. Hortillano
and sense of loss arising from the death of their unborn child, who, in this case, had a bereavement leave pay and other death benefits in the amounts of Four Thousand
gestational life of 38-39 weeks but died during delivery, is any less than that of Nine Hundred Thirty-Nine Pesos (P4,939.00) and Eleven Thousand Five Hundred
parents whose child was born alive but died subsequently. Fifty Pesos (P11,550.00), respectively, grounded on the death of his unborn child,
are AFFIRMED. Costs against Continental Steel Manufacturing Corporation.
SO ORDERED
G.R. No. 118978 May 23, 1997 On appeal to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), said public respondent upheld the labor arbiter and, in its
decision dated April 29, 1994, it ruled that private respondent had indeed been the subject of an unjust and unlawful
discrimination by her employer, PT & T. However, the decision of the labor arbiter was modified with the qualification that
PHILIPPINE TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE COMPANY, * petitioner, Grace de Guzman deserved to be suspended for three months in view of the dishonest nature of her acts which should not
vs. be condoned. In all other respects, the NLRC affirmed the decision of the labor arbiter, including the order for the
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and GRACE DE GUZMAN, respondents. reinstatement of private respondent in her employment with PT & T.

The subsequent motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner was rebuffed by respondent NLRC in its resolution of
November 9, 1994, hence this special civil action assailing the aforestated decisions of the labor arbiter and respondent
REGALADO, J.: NLRC, as well as the denial resolution of the latter.

Seeking relief through the extraordinary writ of certiorari, petitioner Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Company (hereafter, 1. Decreed in the Bible itself is the universal norm that women should be regarded with love and respect but, through the
PT & T) invokes the alleged concealment of civil status and defalcation of company funds as grounds to terminate the ages, men have responded to that injunction with indifference, on the hubristic conceit that women constitute the inferior sex.
services of an employee. That employee, herein private respondent Grace de Guzman, contrarily argues that what really Nowhere has that prejudice against womankind been so pervasive as in the field of labor, especially on the matter of equal
motivated PT & T to terminate her services was her having contracted marriage during her employment, which is prohibited employment opportunities and standards. In the Philippine setting, women have traditionally been considered as falling
by petitioner in its company policies. She thus claims that she was discriminated against in gross violation of law, such a within the vulnerable groups or types of workers who must be safeguarded with preventive and remedial social legislation
proscription by an employer being outlawed by Article 136 of the Labor Code. against discriminatory and exploitative practices in hiring, training, benefits, promotion and retention.

Grace de Guzman was initially hired by petitioner as a reliever, specifically as a "Supernumerary Project Worker," for a fixed The Constitution, cognizant of the disparity in rights between men and women in almost all phases of social and political life,
period from November 21, 1990 until April 20, 1991 vice one C.F. Tenorio who went on maternity leave.1 Under the Reliever provides a gamut of protective provisions. To cite a few of the primordial ones, Section 14, Article II8 on the Declaration of
Agreement which she signed with petitioner company, her employment was to be immediately terminated upon expiration of Principles and State Policies, expressly recognizes the role of women in nation-building and commands the State to ensure,
the agreed period. Thereafter, from June 10, 1991 to July 1, 1991, and from July 19, 1991 to August 8, 1991, private at all times, the fundamental equality before the law of women and men. Corollary thereto, Section 3 of Article XIII9 (the
respondent's services as reliever were again engaged by petitioner, this time in replacement of one Erlinda F. Dizon who progenitor whereof dates back to both the 1935 and 1973 Constitution) pointedly requires the State to afford full protection to
went on leave during both periods.2 After August 8, 1991, and pursuant to their Reliever Agreement, her services were labor and to promote full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all, including an assurance of entitlement
terminated. to tenurial security of all workers. Similarly, Section 14 of Article XIII 10 mandates that the State shall protect working women
through provisions for opportunities that would enable them to reach their full potential.

On September 2, 1991, private respondent was once more asked to join petitioner company as a probationary employee, the
probationary period to cover 150 days. In the job application form that was furnished her to be filled up for the purpose, she 2. Corrective labor and social laws on gender inequality have emerged with more frequency in the years since the Labor
indicated in the portion for civil status therein that she was single although she had contracted marriage a few months earlier, Code was enacted on May 1, 1974 as Presidential Decree No. 442, largely due to our country's commitment as a signatory
that is, on May 26, 1991.3 to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). 11

It now appears that private respondent had made the same representation in the two successive reliever agreements which Principal among these laws are Republic Act No. 6727 12 which explicitly prohibits discrimination against women with
she signed on June 10, 1991 and July 8, 1991. When petitioner supposedly learned about the same later, its branch respect to terms and conditions of employment, promotion, and training opportunities; Republic Act No. 6955 13 which bans
supervisor in Baguio City, Delia M. Oficial, sent to private respondent a memorandum dated January 15, 1992 requiring her the "mail-order-bride" practice for a fee and the export of female labor to countries that cannot guarantee protection to the
to explain the discrepancy. In that memorandum, she was reminded about the company's policy of not accepting married rights of women workers; Republic Act No. 7192 14 also known as the "Women in Development and Nation Building Act,"
women for employment.4 which affords women equal opportunities with men to act and to enter into contracts, and for appointment, admission,
training, graduation, and commissioning in all military or similar schools of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the
Philippine National Police; Republic Act No. 7322 15 increasing the maternity benefits granted to women in the private
In her reply letter dated January 17, 1992, private respondent stated that she was not aware of PT&T's policy regarding sector; Republic Act No. 7877 16 which outlaws and punishes sexual harassment in the workplace and in the education and
married women at the time, and that all along she had not deliberately hidden her true civil status.5 Petitioner nonetheless training environment; and Republic Act No. 8042, 17 or the "Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995," which
remained unconvinced by her explanations. Private respondent was dismissed from the company effective January 29, prescribes as a matter of policy, inter alia, the deployment of migrant workers, with emphasis on women, only in countries
1992,6 which she readily contested by initiating a complaint for illegal dismissal, coupled with a claim for non-payment of where their rights are secure. Likewise, it would not be amiss to point out that in the Family Code, 18 women's rights in the
cost of living allowances (COLA), before the Regional Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission in field of civil law have been greatly enhanced and expanded.
Baguio City.

In the Labor Code, provisions governing the rights of women workers are found in Articles 130 to 138 thereof. Article 130
At the preliminary conference conducted in connection therewith, private respondent volunteered the information, and this involves the right against particular kinds of night work while Article 132 ensures the right of women to be provided with
was incorporated in the stipulation of facts between the parties, that she had failed to remit the amount of P2,380.75 of her facilities and standards which the Secretary of Labor may establish to ensure their health and safety. For purposes of labor
collections. She then executed a promissory note for that amount in favor of petitioner7. All of these took place in a formal and social legislation, a woman working in a nightclub, cocktail lounge, massage clinic, bar or other similar establishments
proceeding and with the agreement of the parties and/or their counsel. shall be considered as an employee under Article 138. Article 135, on the other hand, recognizes a woman's right against
discrimination with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account simply of sex. Finally, and this brings us to the
issue at hand, Article 136 explicitly prohibits discrimination merely by reason of the marriage of a female employee.
On November 23, 1993, Labor Arbiter Irenarco R. Rimando handed down a decision declaring that private respondent, who
had already gained the status of a regular employee, was illegally dismissed by petitioner. Her reinstatement, plus payment
of the corresponding back wages and COLA, was correspondingly ordered, the labor arbiter being of the firmly expressed 3. Acknowledged as paramount in the due process scheme is the constitutional guarantee of protection to labor and security
view that the ground relied upon by petitioner in dismissing private respondent was clearly insufficient, and that it was of tenure. Thus, an employer is required, as a condition sine qua non prior to severance of the employment ties of an
apparent that she had been discriminated against on account of her having contracted marriage in violation of company individual under his employ, to convincingly establish, through substantial evidence, the existence of a valid and just cause in
rules. dispensing with the services of such employee, one's labor being regarded as constitutionally protected property.
On the other hand, it is recognized that regulation of manpower by the company falls within the so-called management but that is an altogether different story. The fact is that she was dismissed solely because of her concealment of her marital
prerogatives, which prescriptions encompass the matter of hiring, supervision of workers, work assignments, working status, and not on the basis of that supposed defalcation of company funds. That the labor arbiter would thus consider
methods and assignments, as well as regulations on the transfer of employees, lay-off of workers, and the discipline, petitioner's submissions on this supposed dishonesty as a mere afterthought, just to bolster its case for dismissal, is a
dismissal, and recall of employees. 19 As put in a case, an employer is free to regulate, according to his discretion and best perceptive conclusion born of experience in labor cases. For, there was no showing that private respondent deliberately
business judgment, all aspects of employment, "from hiring to firing," except in cases of unlawful discrimination or those misappropriated the amount or whether her failure to remit the same was through negligence and, if so, whether the
which may be provided by law. 20 negligence was in nature simple or grave. In fact, it was merely agreed that private respondent execute a promissory note to
refund the same, which she did, and the matter was deemed settled as a peripheral issue in the labor case.
In the case at bar, petitioner's policy of not accepting or considering as disqualified from work any woman worker who
contracts marriage runs afoul of the test of, and the right against, discrimination, afforded all women workers by our labor Private respondent, it must be observed, had gained regular status at the time of her dismissal. When she was served her
laws and by no less than the Constitution. Contrary to petitioner's assertion that it dismissed private respondent from walking papers on January 29, 1992, she was about to complete the probationary period of 150 days as she was contracted
employment on account of her dishonesty, the record discloses clearly that her ties with the company were dissolved as a probationary employee on September 2, 1991. That her dismissal would be effected just when her probationary period
principally because of the company's policy that married women are not qualified for employment in PT & T, and not merely was winding down clearly raises the plausible conclusion that it was done in order to prevent her from earning security of
because of her supposed acts of dishonesty. tenure. 27 On the other hand, her earlier stints with the company as reliever were undoubtedly those of a regular employee,
even if the same were for fixed periods, as she performed activities which were essential or necessary in the usual trade and
business of PT & T. 28 The primary standard of determining regular employment is the reasonable connection between the
That it was so can easily be seen from the memorandum sent to private respondent by Delia M. Oficial, the branch activity performed by the employee in relation to the business or trade of the employer. 29
supervisor of the company, with the reminder, in the words of the latter, that "you're fully aware that the company is not
accepting married women employee (sic), as it was verbally instructed to you." 21 Again, in the termination notice sent to her
by the same branch supervisor, private respondent was made to understand that her severance from the service was not As an employee who had therefore gained regular status, and as she had been dismissed without just cause, she is entitled
only by reason of her concealment of her married status but, over and on top of that, was her violation of the company's to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to full back wages, inclusive of allowances and other
policy against marriage ("and even told you that married women employees are not applicable [sic] or accepted in our benefits or their monetary equivalent. 30 However, as she had undeniably committed an act of dishonesty in concealing her
company.") 22 Parenthetically, this seems to be the curious reason why it was made to appear in the initiatory pleadings that status, albeit under the compulsion of an unlawful imposition of petitioner, the three-month suspension imposed by
petitioner was represented in this case only by its said supervisor and not by its highest ranking officers who would otherwise respondent NLRC must be upheld to obviate the impression or inference that such act should be condoned. It would be
be solidarily liable with the corporation. 23 unfair to the employer if she were to return to its fold without any sanction whatsoever for her act which was not totally
justified. Thus, her entitlement to back wages, which shall be computed from the time her compensation was withheld up to
the time of her actual reinstatement, shall be reduced by deducting therefrom the amount corresponding to her three months
Verily, private respondent's act of concealing the true nature of her status from PT & T could not be properly characterized suspension.
as willful or in bad faith as she was moved to act the way she did mainly because she wanted to retain a permanent job in a
stable company. In other words, she was practically forced by that very same illegal company policy into misrepresenting her
civil status for fear of being disqualified from work. While loss of confidence is a just cause for termination of employment, it 4. The government, to repeat, abhors any stipulation or policy in the nature of that adopted by petitioner PT & T. The Labor
should not be simulated. 24 It must rest on an actual breach of duty committed by the employee and not on the employer's Code state, in no uncertain terms, as follows:
caprices. 25 Furthermore, it should never be used as a subterfuge for causes which are improper, illegal, or unjustified. 26
Art. 136. Stipulation against marriage. — It shall be unlawful for an employer to require as a condition
In the present controversy, petitioner's expostulations that it dismissed private respondent, not because the latter got married of employment or continuation of employment that a woman shall not get married, or to stipulate
but because she concealed that fact, does have a hollow ring. Her concealment, so it is claimed, bespeaks dishonesty hence expressly or tacitly that upon getting married, a woman employee shall be deemed resigned or
the consequent loss of confidence in her which justified her dismissal. separated, or to actually dismiss, discharge, discriminate or otherwise prejudice a woman employee
merely by reason of marriage.
Petitioner would asseverate, therefore, that while it has nothing against marriage, it nonetheless takes umbrage over the
concealment of that fact. This improbable reasoning, with interstitial distinctions, perturbs the Court since private respondent This provision had a studied history for its origin can be traced to Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 148, 31 better known
may well be minded to claim that the imputation of dishonesty should be the other way around. as the "Women and
Child Labor Law," which amended paragraph (c), Section 12 of Republic Act No. 679, 32 entitled "An Act to Regulate the
Employment of Women and Children, to Provide Penalties for Violations Thereof, and for Other Purposes." The forerunner to
Petitioner would have the Court believe that although private respondent defied its policy against its female employees Republic Act No. 679, on the other hand, was Act No. 3071 which became law on March 16, 1923 and which regulated the
contracting marriage, what could be an act of insubordination was inconsequential. What it submits as unforgivable is her employment of women and children in shops, factories, industrial, agricultural, and mercantile establishments and other
concealment of that marriage yet, at the same time, declaring that marriage as a trivial matter to which it supposedly has no places of labor in the then Philippine Islands.
objection. In other words, PT & T says it gives its blessings to its female employees contracting marriage, despite the
maternity leaves and other benefits it would consequently respond for and which obviously it would have wanted to avoid. If
that employee confesses such fact of marriage, there will be no sanction; but if such employee conceals the same instead of It would be worthwhile to reflect upon and adopt here the rationalization in Zialcita, et al. vs. Philippine Air Lines, 33 a
proceeding to the confessional, she will be dismissed. This line of reasoning does not impress us as reflecting its true decision that emanated from the Office of the President. There, a policy of Philippine Air Lines requiring that prospective
management policy or that we are being regaled with responsible advocacy. flight attendants must be single and that they will be automatically separated from the service once they marry was declared
void, it being violative of the clear mandate in Article 136 of the Labor Code with regard to discrimination against married
women. Thus:
This Court should be spared the ennui of strained reasoning and the tedium of propositions which confuse through less than
candid arguments. Indeed, petitioner glosses over the fact that it was its unlawful policy against married women, both on the
aspects of qualification and retention, which compelled private respondent to conceal her supervenient marriage. It was, Of first impression is the incompatibility of the respondent's policy or regulation with the codal provision
however, that very policy alone which was the cause of private respondent's secretive conduct now complained of. It is then of law. Respondent is resolute in its contention that Article 136 of the Labor Code applies only to
apropos to recall the familiar saying that he who is the cause of the cause is the cause of the evil caused. women employed in ordinary occupations and that the prohibition against marriage of women engaged
in extraordinary occupations, like flight attendants, is fair and reasonable, considering the pecularities
of their chosen profession.
Finally, petitioner's collateral insistence on the admission of private respondent that she supposedly misappropriated
company funds, as an additional ground to dismiss her from employment, is somewhat insincere and self-serving.
Concededly, private respondent admitted in the course of the proceedings that she failed to remit some of her collections,
We cannot subscribe to the line of reasoning pursued by respondent. All along, it knew that the Under American jurisprudence, job requirements which establish employer preference or conditions relating to the marital
controverted policy has already met its doom as early as March 13, 1973 when Presidential Decree status of an employee are categorized as a "sex-plus" discrimination where it is imposed on one sex and not on the other.
No. 148, otherwise known as the Women and Child Labor Law, was promulgated. But for the timidity of Further, the same should be evenly applied and must not inflict adverse effects on a racial or sexual group which is protected
those affected or their labor unions in challenging the validity of the policy, the same was able to obtain by federal job discrimination laws. Employment rules that forbid or restrict the employment of married women, but do not
a momentary reprieve. A close look at Section 8 of said decree, which amended paragraph (c) of apply to married men, have been held to violate Title VII of the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964, the main federal
Section 12 of Republic Act No. 679, reveals that it is exactly the same provision reproduced verbatim in statute prohibiting job discrimination against employees and applicants on the basis of, among other things, sex. 35
Article 136 of the Labor Code, which was promulgated on May 1, 1974 to take effect six (6) months
later, or on November 1, 1974.
Further, it is not relevant that the rule is not directed against all women but just against married women. And, where the
employer discriminates against married women, but not against married men, the variable is sex and the discrimination is
It cannot be gainsaid that, with the reiteration of the same provision in the new Labor Code, all policies unlawful. 36 Upon the other hand, a requirement that a woman employee must remain unmarried could be justified as a
and acts against it are deemed illegal and therefore abrogated. True, Article 132 enjoins the Secretary "bona fide occupational qualification," or BFOQ, where the particular requirements of the job would justify the same, but not
of Labor to establish standards that will ensure the safety and health of women employees and in on the ground of a general principle, such as the desirability of spreading work in the workplace. A requirement of that nature
appropriate cases shall by regulation require employers to determine appropriate minimum standards would be valid provided it reflects an inherent quality reasonably necessary for satisfactory job performance. Thus, in one
for termination in special occupations, such as those of flight attendants, but that is precisely the factor case, a no-marriage rule applicable to both male and female flight attendants, was regarded as unlawful since the restriction
that militates against the policy of respondent. The standards have not yet been established as set was not related to the job performance of the flight attendants. 37
forth in the first paragraph, nor has the Secretary of Labor issued any regulation affecting flight
attendants.
5. Petitioner's policy is not only in derogation of the provisions of Article 136 of the Labor Code on the right of a woman to be
free from any kind of stipulation against marriage in connection with her employment, but it likewise assaults good morals
It is logical to presume that, in the absence of said standards or regulations which are as yet to be and public policy, tending as it does to deprive a woman of the freedom to choose her status, a privilege that by all accounts
established, the policy of respondent against marriage is patently illegal. This finds support in Section 9 inheres in the individual as an intangible and inalienable right. 38 Hence, while it is true that the parties to a contract may
of the New Constitution, which provides: establish any agreements, terms, and conditions that they may deem convenient, the same should not be contrary to law,
morals, good customs, public order, or public policy. 39 Carried to its logical consequences, it may even be said that
petitioner's policy against legitimate marital bonds would encourage illicit or common-law relations and subvert the
Sec. 9. The State shall afford protection to labor, promote full employment and equality in employment, sacrament of marriage.
ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race, or creed, and regulate the relations between
workers and employees. The State shall assure the rights of workers to self-organization, collective
bargaining, security of tenure, and just and humane conditions of work . . . . Parenthetically, the Civil Code provisions on the contract of labor state that the relations between the parties, that is, of
capital and labor, are not merely contractual, impressed as they are with so much public interest that the same should yield
to the common good. 40 It goes on to intone that neither capital nor labor should visit acts of oppression against the other,
Moreover, we cannot agree to the respondent's proposition that termination from employment of flight nor impair the interest or convenience of the public. 41 In the final reckoning, the danger of just such a policy against
attendants on account of marriage is a fair and reasonable standard designed for their own health, marriage followed by petitioner PT & T is that it strikes at the very essence, ideals and purpose of marriage as an inviolable
safety, protection and welfare, as no basis has been laid therefor. Actually, respondent claims that its social institution and, ultimately, of the family as the foundation of the nation. 42 That it must be effectively interdicted here in
concern is not so much against the continued employment of the flight attendant merely by reason of all its indirect, disguised or dissembled forms as discriminatory conduct derogatory of the laws of the land is not only in order
marriage as observed by the Secretary of Labor, but rather on the consequence of marriage- but imperatively required.
pregnancy. Respondent discussed at length in the instant appeal the supposed ill effects of pregnancy
on flight attendants in the course of their employment. We feel that this needs no further discussion as
it had been adequately explained by the Secretary of Labor in his decision of May 2, 1976. ON THE FOREGOING PREMISES, the petition of Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Company is hereby DISMISSED for
lack of merit, with double costs against petitioner.
In a vain attempt to give meaning to its position, respondent went as far as invoking the provisions of
Articles 52 and 216 of the New Civil Code on the preservation of marriage as an inviolable social SO ORDERED
institution and the family as a basic social institution, respectively, as bases for its policy of non-
marriage. In both instances, respondent predicates absence of a flight attendant from her home for
long periods of time as contributory to an unhappy married life. This is pure conjecture not based on
actual conditions, considering that, in this modern world, sophisticated technology has narrowed the
distance from one place to another. Moreover, respondent overlooked the fact that married flight
attendants can program their lives to adapt to prevailing circumstances and events.

Article 136 is not intended to apply only to women employed in ordinary occupations, or it should have
categorically expressed so. The sweeping intendment of the law, be it on special or ordinary
occupations, is reflected in the whole text and supported by Article 135 that speaks of non-
discrimination on the employment of women.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals in Gualberto, et al. vs. Marinduque Mining & Industrial Corporation 34 considered as
void a policy of the same nature. In said case, respondent, in dismissing from the service the complainant, invoked a policy
of the firm to consider female employees in the project it was undertaking as separated the moment they get married due to
lack of facilities for married women. Respondent further claimed that complainant was employed in the project with an oral
understanding that her services would be terminated when she gets married. Branding the policy of the employer as an
example of "discriminatory chauvinism" tantamount to denying equal employment opportunities to women simply on account
of their sex, the appellate court struck down said employer policy as unlawful in view of its repugnance to the Civil Code,
Presidential Decree No. 148 and the Constitution.
G.R. No. 207257 February 3, 2015 G.R. No. 207282

HON. RAMON JESUS P. PAJE, in his capacity as SECRETARY OF THE HON. TEODORO A. CASIÑO, HON. RAYMOND V. PALATINO, HON.
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES EMERENCIANA A. DE JESUS, CLEMENTE G. BAUTISTA, JR., HON.
(DENR), Petitioner, RAFAEL V. MARIANO, HON. ROLEN C. PAULINO, HON. EDUARDO
vs. PIANO, HON. JAMES DE LOS REYES, HON. AQUILINO Y. CORTEZ, JR.,
HON. TEODORO A. CASIÑO, HON. RAYMOND V. PALATINO, HON. HON. SARAH LUGERNA LIPUMANO-GARCIA, NORAIDA VELARMINO,
RAFAEL V. MARIANO, HON. EMERENCIANA A. DE JESUS, CLEMENTE BIANCA CHRISTINE GAMBOA ESPINOS, CHARO SIMONS, GREGORIO
G. BAUTISTA, JR., HON. ROLEN C. PAULINO, HON. EDUARDO PIANO, LLORCA MAGDARAOG, RUBELH PERALTA, ALEX CORPUS HERMOSA,
HON. JAMES DE LOS REYES, HON. AQUILINO Y. CORTEZ, JR., HON. RODOLFO SAMBAJON, ET AL., Petitioners,
SARAH LUGERNA LIPUMANO-GARCIA, NORAIDA VELARMINO, vs.
BIANCA CHRISTINE GAMBOA ESPINOS, CHARO SIMONS, GREGORIO RAMON JESUS P. PAJE in his capacity as SECRETARY OF THE
LLORCA MAGDARAOG, RUBELH PERALTA, ALEX CORPUS DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, SUBIC
HERMOSO, RODOLFO SAMBAJON, REV. FR. GERARDO GREGORIO P. BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY, AND REDONDO PENINSULA
JORGE, CARLITO A. BALOY, OFELIA D. PABLO, MARIO ESQUILLO, ENERGY, INC., Respondents.
ELLE LATINAZO, EVANGELINE Q. RODRIGUEZ, JOHN CARLO DELOS
REYES, Respondents. x-----------------------x

x-----------------------x G.R. No. 207366

G.R. No. 207276 SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY, Petitioner,


vs.
REDONDO PENINSULA ENERGY, INC., Petitioner, HON. TEODORO A. CASIÑO, HON. RAYMOND V. PALATINO, HON.
vs. RAFAEL V. MARIANO, HON. EMERENCIANA A. DE JESUS, HON. ROLEN
HON. TEODORO A. CASIÑO, HON. RAYMOND V. PALATINO, HON. C. PAULINO, HON EDUARDO PIANO, HON. JAMES DE LOS REYES,
RAFAEL V. MARIANO, HON. EMERENCIANA A. DE JESUS, CLEMENTE HON. AQUILINO Y. CORTEZ, JR., HON. SARAH LUGERNA
G. BAUTISTA, JR., HON. ROLEN C. PAULINO, HON. EDUARDO PIANO, LIPUMANOGARCIA, NORAIDA VELARMINO, BIANCA CHRISTINE
HON. JAMES DE LOS REYES, HON. AQUILINO Y. CORTEZ, JR., HON. GAMBOA, GREGORIO LLORCA MAGDARAOG, RUBELHPERALTA,
SARAH LUGERNA LIPUMANO-GARCIA, NORAIDA VELARMINO, ALEX CORPUS HERMOSO, RODOLFO SAMBAJON, REV. FR. GERARDO
BIANCA CHRISTINE GAMBOA ESPINOS, CHARO SIMONS, GREGORIO GREGORIO P. JORGE, CARLITO A. BALOY, OFELIA D. PABLO, MARIO
LLORCA MAGDARAOG, RUBELH PERALTA, ALEX CORPUS ESQUILLO, ELLE·LATINAZO, EV ANGELINE Q. RODRIGUEZ, JOHN
HERMOSO, RODOLFO SAMBAJON, REV. FR. GERARDO GREGORIO P. CARLO DELOS REYES, HON. RAMON JESUS P. PAJE, in his capacity as
JORGE, CARLITO A. BALOY, OFELIA D. PABLO, MARIO ESQUILLO, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND
ELLE LATINAZO, EVANGELINE Q. RODRIGUEZ, JOHN CARLO DELOS NATURAL RESOURCES AND REDONDO PENINSULA ENERGY, INC.,
REYES, RAMON JESUS P. PAJE, in his capacity as SECRETARY OF THE Respondents.
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES AND
SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY, Respondents. DECISION

x-----------------------x DEL CASTILLO, J.:


Before this Court are consolidated Petitions for Review on Certiorari1 assailing the the city government’s objection to the coal-fired power plant as an energy source and
Decision2 dated January 30, 2013 and the Resolution3 dated May 22, 2013 of the urging the proponent to consider safer alternative sources ofenergy for Subic Bay.15
Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 00015, entitled "Hon. Teodoro A. Casiño,
et al. v. Hon. Ramon Jesus P. Paje, et al." On December 22, 2008, the DENR, through former Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr.,
issued an ECC for the proposed 2x150-MW coal-fired power plant.16
Factual Antecedents
Sometime thereafter, RP Energy decided to include additional components in its
In February 2006, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority· (SBMA), a government agency proposed coal-fired power plant. Due to the changes in the project design, which
organized and established under Republic Act No. (RA) 7227,4 and Taiwan involved the inclusion of a barge wharf, seawater intake breakwater, subsea discharge
Cogeneration Corporation (TCC) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding pipeline, raw water collection system, drainage channel improvement, and a 230kV
(MOU) expressing their intention to build a power plant in Subic Bay which would double-circuit transmission line,17 RP Energy requested the DENR Environmental
supply reliable and affordable power to Subic Bay Industrial Park (SBIP).5 Management Bureau(DENR-EMB) to amend its ECC.18 In support of its request, RP
Energy submitted to the DENR-EMBan Environmental Performance Report and
On July 28, 2006, SBMA and TCC entered into another MOU, whereby TCC Management Plan (EPRMP), which was prepared by GHD.19
undertook to build and operatea coal-fired power plant.6 In the said MOU, TCC
identified 20 hectares of land at SitioNaglatore, Mt. Redondo, Subic Bay Freeport On June 8, 2010, RP Energy and SBMA entered into a Lease and Development
Zone (SBFZ) as the suitable area for the project and another site of approximately 10 Agreement (LDA) over a 380,004.456-square meter parcel of land to be used for
hectares tobe used as an ash pond.7 TCC intends to lease the property from SBMA building and operating the coal-fired power plant.20
for a term of 50 years with rent fixed at$3.50 per square meter, payable in 10 equal 5-
year installments.8 On July 8, 2010, the DENR-EMBissued an amended ECC (first amendment)
allowing the inclusion ofadditional components, among others.21
On April 4, 2007, the SBMA Ecology Center issued SBFZ Environmental
Compliance Certificate (ECC) No. EC-SBFZ-ECC-69-21-500 in favor of Taiwan Several months later, RP Energy again requested the DENR-EMB to amend the
Cogeneration International Corporation (TCIC), a subsidiary of TCC,9 for the ECC.22 Instead of constructing a 2x150-MW coal-fired power plant, as originally
construction, installation,and operation of 2x150-MW Circulating Fluidized Bed planned, it now sought toconstruct a 1x300-MWcoal-fired power plant.23 In support
(CFB) Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant at Sitio Naglatore.10 of its request, RP Energy submitted a Project Description Report (PDR) to the
DENR-EMB.24
On June 6, 2008, TCC assigned all its rights and interests under the MOU dated July
28, 2006 to Redondo Peninsula Energy, Inc. (RP Energy),11 a corporation duly On May 26, 2011, the DENR-EMB granted the request and further amended the ECC
organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines with the primary purpose of (second amendment).25
building, owning, and operating powerplants in the Philippines, among others.12
Accordingly, an Addendum to the said MOU was executed by SBMA and RP On August 1, 2011, the Sangguniang Panglalawiganof Zambales issued Resolution
Energy.13 No. 2011-149, opposing the establishment of a coal-fired thermal power plant at
SitioNaglatore, Brgy. Cawag, Subic, Zambales.26
RP Energy then contracted GHD Pty, Ltd. (GHD) to prepare an Environmental
Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed coal-fired power plant and to assist RP On August 11, 2011, the Liga ng mga Barangayof Olongapo City issued Resolution
Energy in applying for the issuance ofan ECC from the Department of Environment No. 12, Series of 2011, expressing its strong objection to the coal-fired power plant as
and Natural Resources (DENR).14 On August 27, 2008, the Sangguniang an energy source.27
Panglungsodof Olongapo City issued Resolution No. 131, Series of 2008, expressing
On July 20, 2012, Hon. Teodoro A. Casiño, Hon. Raymond V. Palatino, Hon. Rafael taken up during the preliminary conference were embodied in the CA’s Resolution
V. Mariano, Hon. Emerenciana A. De Jesus, Clemente G. Bautista, Jr., Hon. Rolen C. dated November 5, 2012, to wit:
Paulino,Hon. Eduardo Piano, Hon. James de los Reyes, Hon. Aquilino Y. Cortez, Jr.,
Hon. Sarah Lugerna Lipumano-Garcia, Noraida Velarmino, Bianca Christine I. ISSUES
Gamboa Espinos, Charo Simons, Gregorio Llorca Magdaraog, Rubelh Peralta, Alex
Corpus Hermoso,Rodolfo Sambajon, Rev. Fr. Gerardo Gregorio P. Jorge, Carlito A. A. Petitioners (Casiño Group)
Baloy, Ofelia D. Pablo, Mario Esquillo, Elle Latinazo, Evangeline Q. Rodriguez, and
John Carlo delos Reyes (Casiño Group) filed before this Court a Petition for Writ of 1. Whether x x x the DENR Environmental Compliance Certificate (‘ECC’ x
Kalikasan against RP Energy, SBMA, and Hon. Ramon Jesus P. Paje, in his capacity x x) in favor of RP Energy for a 2x150 MW Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant
as Secretary of the DENR.28 Project (‘Power Plant,’ x x x ) and its amendment to 1x300 MW Power Plant,
and the Lease and Development Agreement between SBMA and RP Energy
On July 31, 2012, this Court resolved, among others, to: (1) issue a Writ of complied with the Certification Precondition as required under Section 59 of
Kalikasan; and (2) refer the case to the CA for hearing and reception of evidence and Republic Act No. 8371 or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997 (‘IPRA
rendition of judgment.29 While the case was pending, RP Energy applied for another Law,’ x x x);
amendment to its ECC (third amendment) and submitted another EPRMP to the
DENR-EMB, proposing the construction and operation of a 2x300-MW coal-fired 2. Whether x x x RP Energy can proceed with the construction and operation
power plant.30 of the 1x300 MW Power Plant without prior consultation with and approval of
the concerned local government units (‘LGUs,’ x x x ), pursuant to Sections
On September 11, 2012, the Petition for Writ of Kalikasanwas docketed as CA-G.R. 26 and 27 of Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code;
SP No. 00015 and raffled to the Fifteenth Division of the CA.31 In the Petition, the
Casiño Group alleged, among others, that the power plant project would cause grave 3. Whether x x x Section 8.3 of DENRAdministrative Order No. 2003-30
environmental damage;32 that it would adversely affect the health of the residents of (‘DAO No. 2003-30,’ x x x ) providing for the amendment of an ECC is null
the municipalities of Subic,Zambales, Morong, Hermosa, and the City of and void for being ultra vires; and
Olongapo;33 that the ECC was issued and the LDA entered into without the prior
approval of the concerned sanggunians as required under Sections 26 and 27 of the 4. Whether x x x the amendment of RPEnergy’s ECC under Section 8.3 of
Local Government Code (LGC);34 that the LDA was entered into without securing a DAO No. 2003-30 is null and void.
prior certification from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) as
required under Section 59 of RA8371 or the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 B. Respondent RP Energy
(IPRA Law);35 that Section 8.3 of DENR Administrative Order No. 2003-30 (DAO
2003-30) which allowsamendments of ECCs is ultra viresbecause the DENR has no 1. Whether x x x Section 8.3 of DAO No. 2003-30 can be collaterally
authority to decide on requests for amendments of previously issued ECCs in the attacked;
absence of a new EIS;36 and that due to the nullity of Section 8.3 of DAO 2003-30,
all amendments to RP Energy’s ECC are null and void.37 1.1 Whether x x x the same is valid until annulled;

On October 29, 2012, the CA conducted a preliminary conference wherein the 2. Whether x x x petitioners exhausted their administrative remedies with
parties, with their respective counsels, appeared except for Hon. Teodoro A. Casiño, respect to the amended ECC for the 1x300 MW Power Plant;
Hon. Rafael V. Mariano, Hon. Emerencia A. De Jesus, Clemente G. Bautista, Mario
Esquillo, Elle Latinazo,Evangeline Q. Rodriguez, and the SBMA.38 The matters 2.1 Whether x x x the instant Petition is proper;
3. Whether x x x RP Energycomplied with all the procedures/requirements for 1. paragraphs 1.4 to 1.7;
the issuance of the DENR ECC and its amendment;
2. paragraphs 1.29 to 1.32; and
3.1 Whether x x x a Certificate of Non-Overlap from the National
Commission on Indigenous Peoples is applicable in the instant case; 3. paragraphs 1.33 to 1.37.

4. Whether x x x the LGU’s approval under Sections 26 and 27 of the Local Petitioners made no specific denial withrespect to the allegations of DENR Secretary
Government Code is necessaryfor the issuance of the DENR ECC and its Paje’s Verified Return. x x x
amendments, and what constitutes LGU approval;
Respondent RP Energy proposed the following stipulations, which were all admitted
5. Whether x x x there is a threatened or actual violation of environmental by petitioners, through Atty. Ridon, viz:
laws to justify the Petition;
1. The 1x300 MW Power Plant is not yet operational;
5.1 Whether x x x the approved 1x300 MW Power Plant complied
with the accepted legal standards on thermal pollution of coastal 2. At present, there is no environmental damage;
waters, air pollution, water pollution, and acid deposits on aquatic and
terrestrial ecosystems; and 3. The 1x300 MW Power Plant project is situated within the Subic Special
Economic Zone; and
6. Whether x x x the instant Petition should be dismissed for failure to comply
with the requirements of properverification and certification of nonforum 4. Apart from the instant case, petitioners have not challenged the validity of
shopping with respect to some petitioners. Section 8.3 of DAO No. 2003-30.

C. Respondent DENR Secretary Paje Public respondent DENR Secretary Paje did not propose any matter for stipulation.39

1. Whether x x x the issuance of the DENR ECC and its amendment in favor Thereafter, trial ensued.
of RP Energy requires compliance with Section 59 of the IPRA Law, as well
as Sections 26 and 27 of the Local Government Code; The Casiño Group presented three witnesses, namely: (1) Raymond V. Palatino, a
two-term representativeof the KabataanPartylist in the House of Representatives;40
2. Whether x x x Section 8.3 of DAO No. 2003-30 can be collaterally attacked (2) Alex C. Hermoso, the convenor of the Zambales-Olongapo City Civil Society
in this proceeding; and Network,a director of the PREDA41 Foundation, and a member of the Zambales
Chapter of the Kaya NatinMovement and the Zambales Chapter of the People Power
3. Whether x x x Section 8.3 of DAO No. 2003-30 is valid. Volunteers for Reform;42 and (3) Ramon Lacbain, the ViceGovernor of the Province
of Zambales.43
II. ADMISSIONS/DENIALS
RP Energy presented five witnesses,namely: (1) JunisseP. Mercado (Ms. Mercado),
Petitioners, through Atty. Ridon, admittedall the allegations in RP Energy’s Verified an employee of GHD and the Project Directorof ongoing projects for RP Energy
Return, except the following: regarding the proposed power plant project;44 (2) Juha Sarkki (Engr. Sarkki), a
Master of Science degree holder inChemical Engineering;45 (3) Henry K. Wong, a
degree holder of Bachelor of Science Major in Mechanical Engineering from or any change in the activity x x x shall be subject to a new Environmental Impact
Worcester Polytechnic Institute;46 (4) Dr. Ely Anthony R. Ouano (Dr. Ouano), a Assessment."59 However, as to the ECC third amendment dated November 15, 2012,
licensed Chemical Engineer, Sanitary Engineer, and Environmental Planner in the the CA decided not to rule on its validity since it was not raised as an issue during the
Philippines;47 and (5) David C. Evangelista (Mr. Evangelista), a Business preliminary conference.60
Development Analyst working for RP Energy.48
The CA also invalidated the LDA entered into by SBMA and RP Energy as it was
SBMA, for its part, presented its Legal Department Manager, Atty. Von F. Rodriguez issued without the prior consultation and approval of all the sanggunians concerned as
(Atty. Rodriguez).49 required under Sections 26 and 27 of the LGC,61 and in violation of Section 59,
Chapter VIII ofthe IPRA Law, which enjoins all departments and other governmental
The DENR, however, presented no evidence.50 agencies from granting any lease without a prior certification that the area affected
does not overlap with any ancestral domain.62 The CA noted that no CNO was
Meanwhile, on October 31, 2012, a Certificate of Non-Overlap (CNO) was issued in secured from the NCIP prior to the execution of the LDA,63 and that the CNO dated
connection with RP Energy’s application for the 2x300-MW coal-fired power October 31, 2012 was secured during the pendency of the case and was issued in
plant.51 connection with RP Energy’s application for a 2x300-MW coalfired power plant.64

On November 15, 2012, the DENR-EMB granted RP Energy’s application for the Thus, the CA disposed of the case in this wise:
third amendment to its ECC, approving the construction and operation of a 2x300-
MW coal-fired power plant, among others.52 WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered DENYING the
privilege of the writ of kalikasan and the application for an environmental protection
Ruling of the Court of Appeals order. The prayer to declare the nullity of Section 8.3 of the DENR Administrative
Order No. 2003-30 for being ultra vires is DENIED; and the following are all
On January 30, 2013, the CA rendereda Decision denying the privilege of the writ of declared INVALID:
kalikasanand the application for an environment protection order due to the failure of
the Casiño Group to prove that its constitutional right to a balanced and healthful 1. The Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC Ref. Code: 0804-011-
ecology was violated or threatened.53 The CA likewise found no reason to nullify 4021) dated 22 December 2008 issued in favor of respondent Redondo
Section 8.3 ofDAO No. 2003-30. It said that the provision was not ultra vires,as the Peninsula Energy, Inc. by former Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr. of the
express power of the Secretary of the DENR, the Director and Regional Directors of Department of Environment and Natural Resources;
the EMB to issue an ECC impliedly includes the incidental power to amend the
same.54 In any case, the CA ruled that the validity of the said section could not 2. The ECC first amendment dated 08 July 2010 and ECC second amendment
becollaterally attacked in a petition for a writ of kalikasan.55 dated 26 May 2011, both issued in favor ofrespondent Redondo Peninsula
Energy, Inc. by OIC Director Atty. Juan Miguel T. Cunaof the Department of
Nonetheless, the CA resolved to invalidate the ECC dated December 22, 2008 for Environment and Natural Resources, Environmental Management Bureau;
non-compliance with Section 59 of the IPRA Law56 and Sections 26 and 27 of the and
LGC57 and for failure of Luis Miguel Aboitiz (Mr. Aboitiz), Director of RP Energy,
to affix his signature in the Sworn Statement of Full Responsibility, which is an 3. The Lease and Development Agreement dated 08 June 2010 entered into by
integral part of the ECC.58 Also declared invalid were the ECC first amendment respondents Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Redondo Peninsula
dated July 8, 2010 and the ECC second amendment dated May 26, 2011 in view of Energy, Inc. involving a parcel of land consisting of ₱380,004.456 square
the failure of RP Energy to comply with the restrictions set forth in the ECC, which meters.
specifically require that "any expansion of the project beyond the project description
SO ORDERED.65 The Casiño Group, in essence, argues that it is entitled to a Writ of Kalikasan as it
was able to prove that the operation of the power plant would cause environmental
The DENR and SBMA separately moved for reconsideration.66 RP Energy filed a damage and pollution, and that thiswould adversely affect the residents of the
Motion for Partial Reconsideration,67 attaching thereto a signed Statement of provinces of Bataan and Zambales, particularly the municipalities of Subic, Morong,
Accountability.68 The Casiño Group, on the other hand, filed Omnibus Motions for Hermosa, and the City of Olongapo. It cites as basis RP Energy’s EIS, which
Clarification and Reconsideration.69 allegedly admits that acid rain may occur in the combustion of coal;77 that the
incidence of asthma attacks among residents in the vicinity of the project site may
On May 22, 2013, the CAissued a Resolution70 denying the aforesaid motions for increasedue to exposure to suspended particles from plant operations;78 and that
lack of merit. The CA opined that the reliefs it granted in its Decision are allowed increased sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions may occur during
under Section 15, Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases as the plant operations.79 It also claims that when the SBMA conducted Social
reliefs enumerated therein are broad, comprehensive, and nonexclusive.71 In fact, Acceptability Policy Consultations with different stakeholders on the proposed power
paragraph (e) of the saidprovision allows the granting of "such other reliefs" in plant, the results indicated that the overall persuasion of the participants was a clear
consonance with the objective, purpose, and intent of the Rules.72 SBMA’s aversion to the project due to environmental, health, economic and socio-cultural
contention that the stoppage of a project for non-compliance with Section 59 of the concerns.80 Finally, it contends that the ECC third amendment should also be
IPRA Law may only be done by the indigenous cultural communities or indigenous nullified for failure to comply with the procedures and requirements for the issuance
peoples was also brushed aside by the CA as the Casiño Group did not file a case of the ECC.81
under the IPRA Law but a Petition for a Writ of Kalikasan, which is available to all
natural or juridical persons whose constitutional right to a balanced and healthful The DENR’s arguments
ecology is violated, or threatened to be violated.73 As to RP Energy’s belated
submission of a signed Statement of Accountability, the CA gaveno weight and The DENR imputes error on the CAin invalidating the ECC and its amendments,
credenceto it as the belated submission of such document, long after the presentation arguing that the determination of the validity of the ECC as well as its amendments is
of evidence of the parties had been terminated, is not in accord with the rules of fair beyond the scope of a Petition for a Writ of Kalikasan.82 And even if it is within the
play.74 Neither was the CA swayed by the argument that the omitted signature of scope, there is no reason to invalidate the ECC and its amendments as these were
Luis Miguel Aboitiz is a mere formal defect, which does not affect the validity of the issued in accordance with DAO No. 2003-30.83 The DENR also insists that contrary
entire document.75 The dispositive portion of the Resolution reads: to the view of the CA, a new EIS was no longer necessary since the first EIS was still
WHEREFORE,premises considered, respondents Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority’s within the validity period when the first amendment was requested, and that this is
Motion for Reconsideration dated 18 February 2013, Department of Environment and precisely the reason RP Energy was only required to submit an EPRMP in support of
Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Jesus P. Paje’s Motion for Reconsideration dated its application for the first amendment.84 As to the second amendment, the DENR-
19 February 2013, and Redondo Peninsula Energy, Inc.’s Motion for Partial EMB only required RP Energy to submit documents to support the proposed revision
Reconsideration dated 22 February 2013, as well as petitioners’ OmnibusMotions for considering that the change in configuration of the power plant project, from
Clarification and Reconsideration dated 25 February 2013,are all DENIED for lack of 2x150MW to 1x300MW, was not substantial.85 Furthermore, the DENR argues that
merit. no permits, licenses, and/or clearances from other government agencies are required
in the processing and approval of the ECC.86 Thus, non-compliance with Sections 26
SO ORDERED.76 and 27 of the LGC as well as Section 59 ofthe IPRA Law is not a ground to invalidate
the ECC and its amendments.87 The DENR further posits that the ECC is not a
Unsatisfied, the parties appealed to this Court. concession, permit, or license but is a document certifying that the proponent has
complied with all the requirements of the EIS System and has committed to
The Casiño Group’s arguments implement the approved Environmental Management Plan.88 The DENR invokes
substantial justice so that the belatedly submitted certified true copy of the ECC
containing the signature of Mr. Aboitiz on the Statement of Accountability may be This case affords us an opportunity to expound on the nature and scope of the writ of
accepted and accorded weight and credence.89 kalikasan. It presents some interesting questions about law and justice in the context
of environmental cases, which we will tackle in the main body of this Decision.
SBMA’s arguments
But we shall first address some preliminary matters, in view of the manner by which
For its part, SBMA asserts that since the CA did not issue a Writ of Kalikasan, it the appellate court disposed of this case.
should not have invalidated the LDA and that in doing so, the CA acted beyond its
powers.90 SBMA likewise puts in issue the legal capacity of the Casiño Group to The Rules on the Writ of Kalikasan,105 which is Part III of the Rules of Procedure
impugn the validity of the LDA91 and its failure to exhaust administrative for Environmental Cases,106 was issued by the Court pursuant to its power to
remedies.92 In any case, SBMA contends that there is no legal basis to invalidate the promulgate rules for the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights,107 in
LDA as prior consultation under Sections 26 and 27 of the LGC is not required in this particular, the individual’s rightto a balanced and healthful ecology.108 Section 1 of
case considering that the area is within the SBFZ.93 Under RA 7227, it is the SBMA Rule 7 provides:
which has exclusive jurisdiction over projects and leases within the SBFZ and that in
case of conflict between the LGC and RA 7227, it is the latter, a special law, which Section 1. Nature of the writ.- The writ is a remedy available to a natural or juridical
must prevail.94 Moreover, the lack of prior certification from the NCIP is alsonot a person, entity authorized by law, people’s organization, nongovernmental
ground to invalidate a contract.95 If at all, the only effect of non-compliance with the organization, or any public interest group accredited by or registered with any
said requirement under Section 59 of the IPRA Law is the stoppage or suspension of government agency, on behalf of persons whose constitutional right to a balanced and
the project.96 Besides, the subsequent issuance of a CNO has cured any legal defect healthful ecology is violated, or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or
found in the LDA.97 omission of a public official or employee, or private individual or entity, involving
environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health or property
RP Energy’s arguments of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces.

RP Energy questions the proprietyof the reliefs granted by the CA considering that it The writ is categorized as a special civil action and was, thus, conceptualized as an
did not issue a writ of kalikasanin favor of the Casiño Group.98 RP Energy is of the extraordinary remedy,which aims to provide judicial relief from threatened or actual
view that unless a writ of kalikasanis issued, the CA has no power to grant the reliefs violation/s of the constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology of a
prayed for in the Petition.99 And even if it does, the reliefs are limited to those magnitude or degree of damage that transcends political and territorial
enumerated in Section 15, Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases boundaries.109 It is intended "to provide a strongerdefense for environmental rights
and that the phrase "such other reliefs" in paragraph (e) should be limited only to through judicial efforts where institutional arrangements of enforcement,
those of the same class or general nature as the four other reliefs enumerated.100 As implementation and legislation have fallen short"110 and seeks "to address the
to the validity of the LDA, the ECC and its amendments, the arguments of RP Energy potentially exponential nature of large-scale ecological threats."111
are basically the same arguments interposed by SBMA and the DENR. RP Energy
maintains that the ECC and its amendments were obtained in compliance with the Under Section 1 of Rule 7, the following requisites must be present to avail of this
DENR rules and regulations;101 that a CNO is not necessary in the execution of extraordinary remedy: (1) there is an actual or threatened violation of the
anLDA and in the issuance of the ECC and its amendments;102 and that prior constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology; (2) the actual or threatened
approval of the local governments, which may be affected by the project, are not violation arises from an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or
required because under RA 7227, the decision of the SBMA shall prevail in matters private individual or entity; and (3) the actual or threatened violation involves or will
affecting the Subic Special Economic Zone (SSEZ), except in matters involving lead to an environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health or
defense and security.103 RP Energy also raises the issue of non-exhaustion of property ofinhabitants in two or more cities or provinces.
administrative remedies on the part of the Casiño Group.104 Preliminaries
Expectedly, the Rules do not definethe exact nature or degree of environmental Prescinding from the above, the DENR, SBMA and RP Energy are one in arguing
damage but only that it must be sufficientlygrave, in terms of the territorial scope of that the reliefs granted by the appellate court, i.e.invalidating the ECC and its
such damage, so as tocall for the grant ofthis extraordinary remedy. The gravity amendments, are improper because it had deniedthe Petition for Writ of
ofenvironmental damage sufficient to grant the writ is, thus, to be decided on a case- Kalikasanupon a finding that the Casiño Group failed to prove the alleged
to-case basis. environmental damage, actual or threatened, contemplated under the Rules.

If the petitioner successfully proves the foregoing requisites, the court shall render Ordinarily, no reliefs could and should be granted. But the question may be asked,
judgment granting the privilege of the writ of kalikasan. Otherwise, the petition shall could not the appellate court have granted the Petition for Writ of Kalikasanon the
be denied. If the petition is granted, the court may grant the reliefs provided for under ground of the invalidity of the ECC for failure to comply with certain laws and rules?
Section 15of Rule 7, to wit: Section 15. Judgment.- Within sixty (60) daysfrom the
time the petition is submitted for decision, the court shall render judgment granting or This question is the starting point for setting up the framework of analysis which
denying the privilege of the writ of kalikasan. should govern writ of kalikasan cases.

The reliefs that may be granted under the writ are the following: In their Petition for Writ of Kalikasan,113 the Casiño Group’s allegations, relative to
the actual or threatened violation of the constitutional right to a balanced and
(a) Directing respondent to permanently cease and desist from committing healthful ecology, may be grouped into two.
acts or neglecting the performance of a duty in violation of environmental
laws resulting in environmental destruction or damage; The first set of allegations deals withthe actual environmental damage that will occur
if the power plant project isimplemented. The Casiño Group claims that the
(b) Directing the respondent public official, government agency, private construction and operation of the power plant will result in (1) thermal pollution of
person or entity to protect, preserve, rehabilitate or restore the environment; coastal waters, (2) air pollution due to dust and combustion gases, (3) water pollution
from toxic coal combustion waste, and (4) acid deposition in aquatic and terrestrial
(c) Directing the respondent public official, government agency, private ecosystems, which will adversely affect the residents of the Provinces of Bataan and
person or entity to monitor strict compliance with the decision and orders of Zambales, particularly the Municipalities of Subic, Morong and Hermosa, and the
the court; City of Olongapo.

(d) Directing the respondent public official, government agency, or private The second set of allegations deals with the failureto comply with certain laws and
person or entity to make periodic reports on the execution of the final rules governing or relating to the issuance ofan ECC and amendments thereto. The
judgment; and Casiño Group claims that the ECC was issued in violation of (1) the DENR rules on
the issuance and amendment of an ECC, particularly, DAO 2003-30 and the Revised
(e) Such other reliefs which relate to the right of the people to a balanced and Procedural Manual for DAO 2003-30 (Revised Manual), (2) Section 59 of the IPRA
healthful ecology or to the protection, preservation, rehabilitation or Law,and (3) Sections 26 and 27 of the LGC. In addition, it claims that the LDA
restoration of the environment, except the award of damages to individual entered into between SBMA and RP Energy violated Section 59 of the IPRA Law.
petitioners.
As to the first set of allegations, involving actual damage to the environment, it is not
It must be noted, however,that the above enumerated reliefs are non-exhaustive. The difficult to discern that, if they are proven, then the Petition for Writ of Kalikasan
reliefs that may be granted under the writ are broad, comprehensive and non- could conceivably be granted.
exclusive.112
However, as to the second set of allegations, a nuanced approach is warranted. The reasonable connection with the environmental damage of the magnitude contemplated
power of the courts to nullify an ECC existed even prior to the promulgation of the under the Rules. In the case at bar, no such causal link or reasonable connection was
Rules on the Writ of Kalikasanfor judicial review of the acts of administrative shown or even attempted relative to the aforesaid second set of allegations. It is a
agencies or bodies has long been recognized114 subject, of course, to the doctrine of mere listing of the perceived defects or irregularities in the issuance of the ECC. This
exhaustion of administrative remedies.115 would havebeen sufficient reason to disallow the resolution of such issues in a writ of
kalikasan case.
But the issue presented before us is nota simple case of reviewing the acts of an
administrative agency, the DENR, which issued the ECC and its amendments. The However, inasmuch as this is the first time that we lay down this principle, we have
challenge to the validity ofthe ECC was raised in the context of a writ of liberally examined the alleged defects or irregularities in the issuance of the ECC and
kalikasancase. The question then is, can the validity of an ECC be challenged viaa find that there is only one group of allegations, relative to the ECC, that can be
writ of kalikasan? reasonably connected to anenvironmental damageof the magnitude contemplated
under the Rules. This is withrespect to the allegation that there was no environmental
We answer in the affirmative subject to certain qualifications. impact assessment relative to the first and second amendments to the subject ECC. If
this were true, then the implementation of the project can conceivably actually violate
As earlier noted, the writ of kalikasanis principally predicated on an actual or or threaten to violate the right to a healthful and balanced ecology of the inhabitants
threatened violation of the constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology, near the vicinity of the power plant. Thus, the resolution of such an issue could
which involves environmental damage of a magnitude that transcends political and conceivably be resolved in a writ of kalikasan case provided that the case does not
territorial boundaries. A party, therefore, who invokes the writ based on alleged violate, or is anexception to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies and
defects or irregularities in the issuance of an ECC must not only allege and prove primary jurisdiction.116
such defects or irregularities, but mustalso provide a causal link or, at least, a
reasonable connection between the defects or irregularities in the issuance of an ECC As to the claims that the issuance of the ECC violated the IPRA Law and LGC and
and the actual or threatened violation of the constitutional right to a balanced and that the LDA, likewise, violated the IPRA Law, we find the same not to be within the
healthful ecology of the magnitude contemplated under the Rules. Otherwise, the coverage of the writ of kalikasanbecause, assuming there was non-compliance
petition should be dismissed outright and the action re-filed before the proper forum therewith, no reasonable connection can be made to an actual or threatened violation
with due regard to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies. This must of the right to a balanced and healthful ecology of the magnitude contemplated under
be so ifwe are to preserve the noble and laudable purposes of the writ against those the Rules.
who seek to abuse it.
To elaborate, the alleged lackof approval of the concerned sanggunians over the
An example of a defect or an irregularity in the issuance of an ECC, which could subject project would not lead toor is not reasonably connected with environmental
conceivably warrant the granting of the extraordinary remedy of the writ of kalikasan, damage but, rather, it is an affront to the local autonomy of LGUs. Similarly, the
is a case where there are serious and substantial misrepresentations or fraud in the alleged lack of a certificate precondition that the project site does not overlap with an
application for the ECC, which, if not immediately nullified, would cause actual ancestral domain would not result inor is not reasonably connected with
negative environmental impacts of the magnitude contemplated under the Rules, environmental damage but, rather, it is an impairment of the right of Indigenous
because the government agenciesand LGUs, with the final authority to implement the Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) to their ancestral domains.
project, may subsequently rely on such substantially defective or fraudulent ECC in These alleged violationscould be the subject of appropriate remedies before the
approving the implementation of the project. proper administrative bodies (like the NCIP) or a separate action to compel
compliance before the courts, as the case may be. However, the writ of kalikasan
To repeat, in cases of defects or irregularities in the issuance of an ECC, it is not would not be the appropriate remedy to address and resolve such issues.
sufficient to merely allege such defects or irregularities, but to show a causal link or
Be that as it may, we shall resolve both the issues proper in a writ of kalikasan case 3. Whether the first and second amendments to the ECC are invalid for failure
and those which are not, commingled as it were here, because of the exceptional to undergo a new environmental impact assessment (EIA) because of the
character of this case. We take judicial notice of the looming power crisis that our utilization of inappropriate EIA documents.
nation faces. Thus, the resolution of all the issues in this case is of utmost urgency
and necessity in order to finally determine the fate of the project center of this 4. Whether the Certificate of Non-Overlap, under Section 59 of the IPRA
controversy. If we were to resolve only the issues proper in a writ of kalikasancase Law, is a precondition to the issuanceof an ECC and the lack of its prior
and dismiss those not proper therefor, that will leave such unresolved issues open to issuance rendered the ECC invalid.
another round of protracted litigation. In any case, we find the records sufficient to
resolve all the issues presented herein. We also rule that, due to the extreme urgency 5. Whether the Certificate of Non-Overlap, under Section 59 of the IPRA
of the matter at hand, the present case is an exception to the doctrine of exhaustion of Law, is a precondition to the consummation of the Lease and Development
administrative remedies.117 As we have often ruled, in exceptional cases, we can Agreement (LDA) between SBMA and RPEnergy and the lack of its prior
suspend the rules of procedure in order to achieve substantial justice, and to address issuance rendered the LDA invalid.
urgent and paramount State interests vital to the life of our nation.
6. Whether compliance with Section 27, in relation to Section 26, of the LGC
Issues (i.e., approval of the concerned sanggunianrequirement) is necessary prior to
the implementation of the power plant project.
In view of the foregoing, we shall resolve the following issues:
7. Whether the validity of the third amendment to the ECC can be resolved in
1. Whether the Casiño Group was able to prove that the construction and this case.
operation of the power plant will cause grave environmental damage.
Ruling
1.1. The alleged thermal pollution of coastal waters, air pollution due
to dust and combustion gases, water pollution from toxic coal The parties to this case appealed from the decision of the appellate court pursuant to
combustion waste, and acid deposition to aquatic and terrestrial Section 16, Rule7 of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases, viz:
ecosystems that will becaused by the project.
Section 16. Appeal.- Within fifteen (15) days from the date of notice of the adverse
1.2. The alleged negative environmental assessment of the project by judgment or denialof motion for reconsideration, any party may appeal to the
experts in a report generated during the social acceptability Supreme Court under Rule45 of the Rules of Court. The appeal may raise questions
consultations. of fact. (Emphasis supplied)

1.3. The alleged admissions of grave environmental damage in the EIS It is worth noting that the Rules on the Writ of Kalikasan allow the parties to raise, on
itself of the project. appeal, questions of fact— and, thus, constitutes an exception to Rule 45 of the Rules
of Court— because ofthe extraordinary nature of the circumstances surrounding the
2. Whether the ECC is invalid for lackof signature of Mr. Luis Miguel issuance of a writ of kalikasan.118 Thus, we shall review both questions of law and
Aboitiz, as representative of RP Energy, in the Statement of Accountability of fact in resolving the issues presented in this case.
the ECC.
We now rule on the above-mentioned issues in detail.
I. because they are toxic and may cause cancer and birth defects. Their release to
nearby bodies of water will be a threatto the marine ecosystem of Subic Bay.
Whether the Casiño Group was able to prove that the construction and operation of The project is located in a flood-prone area and is near three prominent
the power plant will cause grave environmental damage. seismic faults as identified by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and
Seismology. The construction of an ash pond in an area susceptible to
The alleged thermal pollution of coastal flooding and earthquake also undermines SBMA’s duty to prioritize the
waters, air pollution due to dust and preservation of the water quality in Subic Bay.
combustion gases, water pollution from
toxic coal combustion waste, and acid 4. Acid deposition in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The power plant will
deposition in aquatic and terrestrial release 1,888 tons of nitrous oxides and 886 tons of sulfur dioxide per year.
ecosystems that willbe caused by the These oxides are responsible for acid deposition. Acid deposition directly
project. impacts aquatic ecosystems. It is toxic to fish and other aquatic animals. It
will also damage the forests near Subic Bay as well as the wildlife therein.
As previously noted, the Casiño Group alleged that the construction and operation of This will threaten the stability of the biological diversity of the Subic Bay
the power plant shall adversely affect the residents of the Provinces of Bataan and Freeport which was declared as one of the ten priority sites among the
Zambales, particularly, the Municipalities of Subic, Morong and Hermosa, and the protected areas in the Philippines and the Subic Watershed and Forest
City of Olongapo, as well as the sensitive ecological balance of the area. Their claims Reserve. This will also have an adverse effect on tourism.119
of ecological damage may be summarized as follows:
In its January 30, 2013 Decision, the appellate court ruled that the Casiño Group
1. Thermal pollution of coastal waters. Due to the discharge of heated water failed to prove the above allegations.
from the operation of the plant, they claim that the temperature of the affected
bodies of water will rise significantly. This will have adverse effects on We agree with the appellate court.
aquatic organisms. It will also cause the depletion of oxygen in the water. RP
Energy claims that there will beno more than a 3°C increase in water Indeed, the three witnesses presented by the Casiño Group are not experts on the CFB
temperature but the Casiño Group claims that a 1°C to 2°C rise can already technology or on environmental matters. These witnesses even admitted on cross-
affect the metabolism and other biological functions of aquatic organisms examination that theyare not competent to testify on the environmental impact of the
such asmortality rate and reproduction. subject project. What is wanting in their testimonies is their technical knowledgeof
the project design/implementation or some other aspects of the project, even those not
2. Air pollution due to dust and combustion gases. While the Casiño Group requiring expertknowledge, vis-à-vis the significant negative environmental impacts
admits that Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) Coal technology, which will be which the Casiño Group alleged will occur. Clearly, the Casiño Group failed to carry
used in the power plant, is a clean technology because it reduces the emission the onusof proving the alleged significant negative environmental impacts of the
of toxic gases, it claims that volatile organic compounds, specifically, project. In comparison, RP Energy presented several experts to refute the allegations
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) will also be emitted under the CFB. of the Casiño Group.
PAHs are categorized as pollutants with carcinogenic and mutagenic
characteristics. Carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas, and nitrous oxide, a lethal As aptly and extensively discussed by the appellate court:
global warming gas, will also be produced.
Petitioners120 presented three (3) witnesses, namely, Palatino, Hermoso, and
3. Water pollution from toxic coal combustion waste. The waste from coal Lacbain, all of whom are not experts on the CFB technology or even on
combustion or the residues from burning pose serious environmental risk environmental matters. Petitioners did not present any witness from Morong or
Hermosa. Palatino, a former freelance writer and now a Congressman representing reference to the MOU and some papers related to the case; petitioner Peralta was the
the Kabataan Partylist, with a degree of BS Education major in Social Studies, one who e-mailed to him the soft copy ofall the documents [letters (a) to (o) of his
admitted that he is not a technical expert. Hermoso, a Director of the PREDA Judicial Affidavit], except the LGU Resolutions; and he has never been at the actual
foundation which is allegedly involved on environmental concerns, and a member of Power Plant projectsite. It must be noted that petitioners Velarmino and Peralta were
Greenpeace, is not an expert on the matter subject of this case. He is a graduate of BS never presented as witnesses in this case. In addition, Palatino did not identify the
Sociology and a practicing business director involved in social development and said studies but simplyconfirmed that the said studies were attached to the Petition.
social welfare services. Lacbain, incumbent ViceGovernor of the Province of
Zambales, anaccounting graduate with a Master in Public Administration, was a Indeed, under the rules of evidence, a witness can testify only to those facts which the
former BancoFilipino teller, entertainment manager, disco manager, marketing witness knows of his orher personal knowledge, that is, which are derived from the
manager and college instructor, and is also not an expert on the CFB technology. witness’ own perception. Concomitantly, a witness may not testify on matters which
Lacbain also admitted that he is neither a scientist nor an expert on matters of the he or she merely learned from others either because said witness was told or read or
environment. heard those matters. Such testimony is considered hearsay and may not be received as
proof of the truth of what the witness has learned. This is known as the hearsay rule.
Petitioners cited various scientific studies or articles and websites culled from the Hearsay is notlimited to oral testimony or statements; the general rule that excludes
internet. However, the said scientific studiesand articles including the alleged Key hearsay as evidence applies to written, as well as oral statements. There are several
Observations and Recommendations on the EIS of the Proposed RPE Project by Rex exceptions to the hearsay rule under the Rules of Court, among which are learned
Victor O. Cruz (Exhibit "DDDDD") attached to the Petition, were not testified to by treatises under Section 46 of Rule 130, viz:
an expert witness, and are basically hearsay in nature and cannot be given probative
weight. The article purportedly written by Rex Victor O. Cruz was not even signed by "SEC. 46. Learned treatises. -A published treatise, periodical or pamphlet on a
the said author, which fact was confirmed by Palatino. Petitioners’ witness, Lacbain, subjectof history, law, science, or art is admissible as tending to prove the truth of a
admitted that he did not personally conduct any study on the environmental or health matter stated therein if the court takes judicial notice, or a witness expert in the
effects of a coal-firedpower plant, but only attended seminars and conferences subject testifies, that the writer of the statement in the treatise, periodical or pamphlet
pertaining to climate change; and that the scientific studies mentioned in the is recognized in his profession or calling as expert in the subject."
penultimate whereas clause of Resolution No. 2011-149 (Exhibit "AAAAA") of the
Sangguniang Panlalawiganof Zambales is based on what he read on the internet, The alleged scientific studies mentioned in the Petition cannot be classified as learned
seminars he attended and what he heard from unnamed experts in the field of treatises. We cannot take judicial notice of the same, and no witness expert in the
environmental protection. subjectmatter of this case testified, that the writers of the said scientific studies are
recognized in their profession or calling as experts in the subject.
In his Judicial Affidavit (Exhibit "HHHHH"), Palatino stated that he was furnished by
the concerned residents the Key Observations and Recommendations on the EIS of In stark contrast, respondent RP Energy presented several witnesses on the CFB
Proposed RPE Project by Rex Victor O. Cruz, and that he merely received and read technology.
the five (5) scientific studies and articles which challenge the CFB technology.
Palatino also testified that: he was only furnished by the petitioners copies of the In his Judicial Affidavit, witness Wong stated that he obtained a Bachelor of Science,
studies mentioned in his Judicial Affidavit and he did not participate in the execution, Major in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute; he is a
formulation or preparation of any of the said documents; he does not personally know Consulting Engineer of Steam Generators of URS; he was formerly connected with
Rex Cruz or any of the authors of the studies included in his Judicial Affidavit; he did Foster Wheeler where he held the positions of site commissioning engineer, testing
not read other materials about coal-fired power plants; he is not aware of the engineer, instrumentation and controls engineer, mechanical equipment department
acceptable standards as far as the operation of a coal-fired power plant is concerned; manager, director of boiler performance and mechanical design engineering and
petitioner Velarmino was the one who furnished him copies of the documents in pulverized coal product director. He explained that: CFB stands for Circulating
Fluidized Bed; it is a process by which fuel is fed to the lower furnace where it is Wheeler from 1995 to 2007; and he holds a Master of Science degree in Chemical
burned in an upward flow of combustion air; limestone, which is used as sulfur Engineering.He explained that: CFB boilers will emit PAHs but only in minimal
absorbent, is also fed to the lower furnace along with the fuel; the mixture offuel, ash, amounts, while BFB will produce higher PAH emissions; PAH is a natural product of
and the boiler bed sorbent material is carried to the upper part of the furnace and into any combustion process; even ordinary burning, such as cooking or driving
a cyclone separator; the heavier particles which generally consist of the remaining automobiles, will have some emissions that are not considered harmful; it is only
uncombusted fuel and absorbent material are separated in the cyclone separator and when emissions are of a significant level that damage may be caused; a CFB
are recirculated to the lower furnace to complete the combustion of any unburned technology has minimal PAH emissions; the high combustion efficiency of CFB
particles and to enhance SO2 capture by the sorbent; fly ash and flue gas exit the technology, due to long residence time of particles inside the boiler, leads to minimal
cyclone and the fly ash is collected in the electrostatic precipitator; furnace emissions of PAH; other factors such as increase in the excess air ratio[,] decrease in
temperature is maintained in the range of 800° to 900° C by suitable heat absorbing Ca/S, as well as decrease in the sulfur and chlorine contents of coal will likewise
surface; the fuel passes through a crusher that reduces the size to an appropriate size minimize PAH production; and CFB does not cause emissions beyond
prior to the introduction into the lower furnace along with the limestone; the scientificallyacceptable levels. He testified, inter alia, that: the CFB technology is
limestone is used as a SO2 sorbent which reacts with the sulfur oxides to form used worldwide; they have a 50% percent share of CFB market worldwide; and this
calcium sulfate, an inert and stable material; air fans at the bottom of the furnace will be the first CFB by Foster Wheeler in the Philippines; Foster Wheeler
create sufficient velocity within the steam generator to maintain a bed of fuel, ash, manufactures and supplies different type[s] of boilers including BFB, but CFB is
and limestone mixture; secondary air is also introduced above the bed to facilitate always applied on burning coal, so they do not apply any BFB for coal firing; CFB
circulation and complete combustion of the mixture; the combustion process has features which have much better combustion efficiency, much lower emissions
generates heat, which then heats the boiler feedwater flowing through boiler tube and it is more effective as a boiler equipment; the longer the coal stays inthe
bundles under pressure; the heat generated in the furnace circuit turns the water to combustion chamber, the better it is burned; eight (8) seconds is already beyond
saturated steam which is further heated to superheated steam; this superheated steam adequate but it keeps a margin; in CFB technology, combustion technology is
leaves the CFB boiler and expands through a steam turbine; the steam turbine is uniform throughout the combustion chamber; high velocity is used in CFB
directly connected to a generator that turns and creates electricity; after making its technology, that is vigorous mixing or turbulence; turbulence is needed to get contact
way through the steam turbine, the low-pressure steam is exhausted downwards into a between fuel and combustion air; and an important feature of CFB is air distribution.
condenser; heat is removed from the steam, which cools and condenses into water
(condensate); the condensate is then pumped back through a train of feedwater In his Judicial Affidavit, Ouano stated that: he is a licensed Chemical Engineer,
heaters to gradually increase its temperature beforethis water is introduced to the Sanitary Engineer and Environmental Planner in the Philippines; he is also a
boiler to start the process all over again; and CFB technology has advantagesover chartered Professional Engineer inAustralia and a member of the colleges of
pulverized coal firing without backend cleanup systems, i.e., greater fuel flexibility, environmental engineers and chemical engineers of the Institution of Engineers
lower SO2 and NOx emissions. Moreover, Wong testified, inter alia, that: CFBs have (Australia); he completed his Bachelor in Chemical Engineering in 1970, Master of
a wider range of flexibility so they can environmentally handle a wider range of fuel Environmental Engineering in 1972 and Doctor of Environmental Engineering in
constituents, mainly the constituent sulfur; and is capable of handling different types 1974; he also graduated from the University of Sydney Law School with the degree
of coal within the range of the different fuelconstituents; since CFB is the newer of Master of Environmental Law in 2002 and PhD in Law from Macquarie University
technology than the PC or stalker fire, it has better environmental production; 50 in 2007. He explained in his Judicial Affidavit that: the impacts identified and
percent ofthe electric generation in the United States is still produced by coal analyzed in the EIA process are all potential or likely impacts; there are a larger
combustion; and the CFB absorbs the sulfur dioxide before it is emitted; and there number of EIA techniques for predicting the potential environmental impacts; it is
will be a lower percentage of emissions than any other technology for the coal. important to note that all those methods and techniques are only for predicting the
potential environmental impacts, not the real impacts; almost all environmental
In his Judicial Affidavit, Sarrki, stated that: he is the Chief Engineer for Process systems are non-linear and they are subject to chaotic behavior that even the most
Concept in FosterWheeler; he was a Manager of Process Technology for Foster sophisticated computer could not predict accurately; and the actual or real
environmental impact could only be established when the project is in actual Q: In page 41, paragraph 99 of the Petition, it was alleged that: "x x x a temperature
operation. He testified, inter alia, that: the higher the temperature the higher the change of 1°C to 2°C canalready affect the metabolism and other biological functions
nitrous oxide emitted; in CFB technology, the lower the temperature, the lower is the of aquatic organisms such as mortality rate and reproduction." What is your expert
nitrogen oxide; and it still has a nitrogen oxide but not as high as conventional coal; opinion, if any, on this matter alleged by the Petitioners?
the CFB is the boiler; from the boiler itself,different pollution control facilities are
going to be added; and for the overall plant with the pollution control facilities, the A: Living organisms have proven time and again that they are very adaptable to
particulate matters, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide are under control. (Citations changes in the environment. Living organisms have been isolated in volcanic vents
omitted)121 under the ocean living on the acidic nutrient soup of sulfur and other minerals emitted
by the volcano to sub-freezing temperature in Antarctica. Asa general rule,
We also note that RP Energy controverted in detail the afore-summarized allegations metabolism and reproductive activity [increase] with temperature until a maximum is
of the Casiño Group on the four areas of environmental damage that will allegedly reached after which [they decline]. For this reason, during winter, animals hibernate
occur upon the construction and operation of the power plant: and plants become dormant after shedding their leaves. It is on the onset of spring that
animals breed and plants bloom when the air and water are warmer. At the middle of
1. On thermal pollution of coastal waters. autumn when the temperature drops to single digit, whales, fish, birds and other living
organisms, which are capable of migrating, move to the other end of the globe where
As to the extent of the expected rise in water temperature once the power plant is spring is just starting. In the processes of migration, those migratory species have to
operational, Ms. Mercado stated in her JudicialAffidavit thus: cross the tropics where the temperature is not just one or two degrees warmer but 10
to 20 degrees warmer. When discussing the impact of 1 to 2 degrees temperature
Q: What was the result of the Thermal Plume Modeling that was conducted for RP change and its impact on the ecosystem, the most important factors to consider are –
Energy? (1) Organism Type – specifically its tolerance to temperature change (mammals have
higher tolerance); (2) Base Temperature – it is the temperature over the optimum
A: The thermal dispersion modeling results show that largest warming change temperature such that an increasewill result in the decline in number of the
(0.95°C above ambient) is observed in the shallowest (5 m) discharge scenario. The organisms; (3) Mobility or Space for Migration (i.e., an aquarium with limited space
warmest surface temperature change for the deepest (30 m) scenario is 0.18°C. All or an open ocean that the organism can move to a space more suited to [a] specific
the simulated scenarios comply with the DAO 90-35 limit for temperature rise of 3°C need, such as the migratory birds); and (4) Ecosystem Complexity and Succession.
within the defined 70 x 70 m mixing zone. The proposed power plant location is near The more complex the ecosystem the more stable it is as succession and adaptation
the mouth of Subic Bay, thus the tidal currents influence the behavior of thermal [are] more robust.
discharge plume. Since the area is well-flushed, mixing and dilution of the thermal
discharge is expected. Normally, the natural variation in water temperature between early morning to late
afternoon could be several degrees (four to five degrees centigrade and up to ten
It also concluded that corals are less likely to be affected by the cooling water degrees centigrade on seasonal basis). Therefore, the less than one degree centigrade
discharge as corals may persist in shallow marine waterswith temperatures ranging change predicted by the GHD modeling would have minimal impact.123
from 18°C to 36°C. The predicted highest temperature of 30.75°C, from the 0.95°C
increase in ambient in the shallowest (5 m) discharge scenario, is within this On cross-examination, Dr. Ouano further explained—
range.122
ATTY. AZURA:
In the same vein, Dr. Ouano stated in his Judicial Affidavit:
x x x When you say Organism Type – you mentioned that mammals have a higher
tolerance for temperature change?
DR. OUANO: ATTY. AZURA:

Yes. Would you be aware, Dr. Ouano, if Kingman has done any studies in Subic Bay?

ATTY. AZURA: DR. OUANO:

What about other types of organisms, Dr. Ouano? Fish for example? Not in Subic Bay but I have reviewedthe temperature variation, natural temperature
variation from the solar side, the days side as well as the seasonal variation. There are
DR. OUANO: two types of variation since temperatures are very critical. One is the daily, which
means from early morning to around 3:00 o’clock, and the other one is seasonal
Well, mammals have high tolerance because mammals are warm[- ]blooded. Now, variation because summer, December, January, February are the cold months and
when it comes to cold[-]blooded animals the tolerance is much lower. But again when then by April, May we are having warm temperature where the temperature goes
you are considering x x x fish [e]specially in open ocean you have to remember that around 32-33 degrees; Christmas time, it drops to around 18 to 20 degrees so it[']sa
nature by itself is x x x very brutal x x x where there is always the prey-predator variation of around seasonal variation of 14 degrees although some of the fish might
relationship. Now, most of the fish that we have in open sea [have] already a very even migrate and that is why I was trying to put in corals because they are the ones
strong adaptability mechanism.And in fact, Kingman back in 1964 x x x studied the that are really fix[ed]. They are not in a position to migrate in this season.
coal reefaround the gulf of Oman where the temperature variation on day to day basis
varied not by 1 degree to 2 degrees but by almost 12 degrees centigrade. Now, in the ATTY. AZURA:
Subic Bay area which when you’re looking at it between daytime variation, early
dawn when it is cold, the air is cold, the sea temperature, sea water is quite cold. Then To clarify. You said that the most potentially sensitive part of the ecosystem would be
by 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon it starts to warm up. Sothe variation [in the] Subic the corals. DR. OUANO:
Bay area is around 2 to 4 degrees by natural variation from the sun as well as from the
current that goes around it. So when you are talking about what the report has said of Or threatened part because they are the ones [that] are not in a position to migrate.
around 1 degree change, the total impact x x x on the fishes will be minimal. x x x
ATTY AZURA:
ATTY. AZURA:
In this case, Dr. Ouano, with respectto this project and the projected temperature
x x x So, you said, Dr. Ouano, that fish, while they have a much lower tolerance for change, will the corals in Subic Bay be affected?
temperature variation, are still very adaptable. What about other sea life, Dr. Ouano,
for example, sea reptiles? DR. OUANO:

DR. OUANO: As far as the outlet is concerned, they have established it outside the coral area. By
the time it reaches the coral area the temperature variation, as per the GHD study is
That’s what I said. The most sensitive part of the marine ecology is physically the very small, it[’]s almost negligible.
corals because corals are non-migratory, they are fix[ed]. Second[ly] x x x corals are
also highly dependent on sunlight penetration. If they are exposed out of the sea, they ATTY AZURA:
die; if theyare so deep, they die. And that is why I cited Kingman in his studies of
coral adaptability [in] the sea ofOman where there was a very high temperature
variation, [they] survived.
Specifically, Dr. Ouano, what does negligible mean, what level of variation are we Predicted GLC126 for 1-hr National Ambient Air Quality
talking about? averaging period Guideline Values

DR. OUANO: SO2 45.79 µg/Nm3 340 µg/Nm3


NO2 100.8 µg/Nm3 260 µg/Nm3
If you are talking about a thermometer, you might be talking about, normally about .1
degrees centigrade. That’sthe one that you could more or less ascertain. x x x CO 10 µg/Nm3 35 µg/Nm3

ATTY. AZURA: Predicted GLC for 8-hr averaging National Ambient Air Quality
period Guideline Values
Dr. Ouano, you mentioned in youranswer to the same question, Question 51, that
there is a normal variation in water temperature. In fact, you said there is a variation CO 0.19 mg/ncm 10 µg/Nm3
throughout the day, daily and also throughout the year, seasonal. Just to clarify, Dr.
Ouano. When the power plant causes the projected temperature change of 1 degree to
Predicted GLC for 24-hr averaging National Ambient Air Quality
2 degrees Celsius this will be in addition to existing variations? What I mean, Dr.
period Guideline Values
Ouano, just so I can understand, how will that work? How will the temperature
change caused by the power plant work with the existing variation? DR. OUANO: SO2 17.11 µg/Nm3 180 µg/Nm3
NO2 45.79 µg/Nm3 150 µg/Nm3
There is something like what we call the zonal mixing. This is an area of
approximately one or two hectares where the pipe goes out, the hot water goes out. So
that x x x, we have to accept x x x that [throughout it] the zone will be a disturb[ed] Predicted GLC for 1-yr averaging National Ambient Air Quality
zone. After that one or two hectares park the water temperature is well mixed [so] that period Guideline Values
the temperature above the normal existing variation now practically drops down to
almost the normal level.124 SO2 6.12 µg/Nm3 80 µg/Nm3
NO2 No standard ---
2. On air pollution due todust and combustion gases.
CO No standard ---
To establish that the emissions from the operation of the power plant would be
compliant with the standards under the Clean Air Act,125 Ms. Mercado stated in her 272. Q: What other findings resulted from the Air Dispersion Modeling, if any?
Judicial Affidavit thus:
A: It also established that the highest GLC to CleanAir Act Standards ratio among
271. Q: What was the result of the Air Dispersion Modeling that was conducted for possible receptors was located 1.6 km North NorthEast ("NNE") of the Power Plant
RP Energy? Project. Further, this ratio was valued only at 0.434 or less than half of the upper limit
set out in the Clean Air Act. This means that the highest air ambient quality
A: The Air Dispersion Modeling predicted that the Power Plant Project will produce disruption will happen only 1.6 km NNE of the Power Plant Project, and that such
the following emissions,which [are] fully compliant with the standards set by DENR: disruption would still be compliant with the standards imposed by the Clean Air
Act.127
The Casiño Group argued, however, that, as stated inthe EIS, during upset conditions, MS. MERCADO:
significant negative environmental impact will result from the emissions. This claim
was refuted by RP Energy’s witness during cross-examination: Not emissions will increase. The emissions will be the same but the ground level
concentration, the GLC, will be higher if you compare normal versus upset. But even
ATTY. AZURA: if it[’]s under upset conditions, it is still only around 10% percent of the Clean Air
Act Limit.
If I may refer you to another page of the same annex, Ms. Mercado, that’s page 202
of the same document, the August 2012. Fig. 2-78 appears to show, there’s a Table, xxxx
Ms. Mercado, the first table, the one on top appears to show a comparison in normal
and upset conditions. I noticed, Ms. Mercado, that the black bars are much higher J. LEAGOGO:
than the bars in normal condition. Can you state what this means?
So you are trying to impress upon this Court that even if the plant is in an upset
MS. MERCADO: condition, it will emit less than what the national standards dictate?

It means there are more emissions that could potentially be released when it is under MS. MERCADO:
upset condition.
Yes, Your Honor.128
ATTY. AZURA:
With respect to the claims that the powerplant will release dangerous PAHs and CO,
I also noticed, Ms. Mercado, at the bottom part of this chart there are Receptor IDs, Engr. Sarrki stated in his Judicial Affidavit thus:
R1, R2, R3 and so forth and on page 188 of this same document, Annex "9-
Mercado," there is a list identifying these receptors, for example, Receptor 6, Your Q: In page 42, paragraph 102 of the Petition, the Petitioners alleged that Volatile
Honor, appears to have been located in Olongapo City, Poblacion. Just so I can Organic Compounds ("VOC") specifically Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon
understand, Ms. Mercado, does that mean that if upset condition[s] were to occur, the ("PAH") will be emitted even by CFB boilers. What can you say about this?
Olongapo City Poblacion will be affected by the emissions? MS. MERCADO:
A: Actually, the study cited by the Petitioners does not apply to the present case
All it means is that there will be higher emissions and a higher ground concentration. because it does not refer to CFB technology. The study refers to a laboratory-scale
But you might want to alsopay attention to the "y axis," it says there GLC/CAA tubular Bubbling Fluidized Bed ("BFB") test rig and not a CFB. CFB boilers will
[Ground Level Concentration/Clean Air Act limit]. So it means that even under upset emit PAHs but only in minimal amounts. Indeed, a BFB will produce higher PAH
conditions… say for R6, the ground level concentration for upset condition is still emissions.
around .1 or 10% percent only of the Clean Air Act limit. So it’s still much lower
than the limit. xxxx

ATTY. AZURA: Q: Why can the study cited by Petitioners not apply in the present case?

But that would mean, would it not, Ms. Mercado, that in the event of upset A: The laboratory-scale BFB used in the study only has one (1) air injection point and
conditions[,] emissionswould increase in the Olongapo City Poblacion? does not replicate the staged-air combustion process of the CFB that RP Energy will
use. Thisstaged-air process includes the secondary air. Injecting secondary air into the
system will lead to more complete combustion and inhibits PAH production. There is Q: I have no further questions for youat the moment. Is there anything you wish to
a study entitled "Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Emissions from a Coal- add to the foregoing?
Fired Pilot FBC System" byKunlei Liu, Wenjun Han, Wei-Ping Pan, John T. Riley
found in the Journal of Hazardous Materials B84 (2001) where the findings are A: Yes. PAH is a natural product of ANY combustion process. Even ordinary
discussed. burning, such as cooking or driving automobiles, will have some emissions that are
not considered harmful. It is only when emissions are of a significant level that
Also, the small-scale test rig utilized in the study does not simulate the process damage may be caused.
conditions (hydrodynamics, heat transfer characteristics, solid and gas mixing
behavior, etc.) seen in a large scale utility boiler, like those which would be utilized Given that the Power Plant Project will utilize CFB technology, it will have minimal
by the Power Plant Project. PAH emissions. The high combustion efficiency of CFB technology, due to the long
residence time of particles inside the boiler, leads to the minimal emissions of PAH.
xxxx Furthermore,other factors such as increase in the excess air ratio, decrease in Ca/S, as
well as decrease in the sulfur and chlorine contents of coal will likewise minimize
Q: Aside from residence time of particles and secondary air, what other factors, if PAH production. CFB does not cause emissions beyond scientifically acceptable
any, reduce PAH production? levels, and we are confident it will not result in the damage speculated by the
Petitioners.129
A: Increase in the excess air ratio will also minimizePAH production. Furthermore,
decrease in Calcium to Sulfur moral ratio ("Ca/S"), as well as decrease in the sulfur 3. On water pollution from toxic coal combustion waste.
and chlorine contents of coal will likewise minimize PAH production. This is also
based on the study entitled "Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Emissions With regard to the claim that coal combustion waste produced by the plant will
from a Coal-Fired Pilot FBC System" by Kunlei Liu, Wenjun Han, Wei-Ping Pan, endanger the health of the inhabitants nearby, Dr. Ouano stated in his Judicial
John T. Riley. Affidavit thus:

In RP Energy’s Power Plant Project, the projected coal to be utilized has low sulfur Q: In page 43, paragraph 110 of the Petition, it was alleged that: "[s]olid coal
and chlorine contents minimizing PAH production. Also, due to optimum conditions combustion waste is highly toxic and is said to cause birth defects and cancer risks
for the in-furnace SO2capture, the Ca/S will be relatively low, decreasing PAH among others x x x." What is your expert opinion, if any, on this matter alleged by the
production. Petitioners?

Q: In paragraph 104 of the Petition, it was alleged that "Carbon monoxide (CO), a A: Coal is geologically compressed remains of living organisms that roamed the earth
poisonous, colorless and odorless gas is also produced when there is partial oxidation several million years ago. In the process of compression, some of the minerals in the
or when there is not enough oxygen (O2) to form carbon dioxide (CO2)." What can soil, rocks or mud, the geologic media for compression, are also imparted into the
you say about this? compressed remains. If the compressing media of mud, sediments and rocks contain
high concentration of mercury, uranium, and other toxic substances, the coal formed
A: CFB technology reduces the CO emissions of the Power Plant Project to safe will likewise contain high concentration of those substances. If the compressing
amounts. In fact, I understand that the projected emissions level of the Power Plant materials have low concentration of those substances, then the coal formed will
Project compl[ies]with the International Finance Corporation ("IFC") standards. likewise have low concentration of those substances. If the coal does not contain
Furthermore, characteristics of CFB technology such as long residence time, uniform excessive quantities of toxic substances, the solid residues are even used in
temperature and high turbulence provide an effective combustion environment which agriculture to supply micronutrients and improve the potency of fertilizers. It is used
results [in] lower and safer CO emissions. freely as a fill material in roads and other construction activities requiring large
volume of fill and as additive in cement manufacture. After all, diamonds that people discharge if required. Fly ash isolation valves in each branch line will prevent
love to hang around their necks and keep close to the chest are nothing more than the leakage and backflow into non-operating lines.
result of special geologic action, as those in volcanic pipes on coal.130
4.1.53 Approximately 120,000m² will be required for the construction of the
RP Energy further argued, a matter which the Casiño Group did not rebut or refute, ash cell. Ash will be stacked along the sloping hill, within a grid of
that the waste generated by the plant will be properly handled, to wit: excavations (i.e. cells) with a 5m embankment. Excavated soils will be used
for embankment construction and backfill. To prevent infiltration [of] ash
4.1.49 When coal is burned in the boiler furnace, two by-products are deposits into the groundwater, a clay layer with minimum depth of400mm
generated - bottom and fly ash. Bottom ash consists oflarge and fused will be laid at the base of each cell. For every 1-m depth of ash deposit, a 10-
particles that fall to the bottom of the furnace and mix with the bed media.Fly cm soil backfill will be applied to immobilize ash and prevent migration via
ash includes finegrained and powdery particles that are carried away by flue wind. Ash cell walls will be lined with high-density polyethylene to prevent
gas into the electrostatic precipitator, which is then sifted and collected. These seepage. This procedure and treatment method is in fact suitable for disposal
by-products are non-hazardous materials. In fact, a coal power plant’s Fly of toxic and hazardous wastes although fly ash is not classified as toxic and
Ash, Bottom Ash and Boiler Slag have consequent beneficial uses which hazardous materials.131
"generate significant environmental, economic, and performance benefits."
Thus, fly ash generated during the process will be sold and transported to Anent the claims that the plant is susceptible to earthquake and landslides, Dr. Ouano
cement manufacturing facilities or other local and international industries. testified thus:

4.1.50 RP Energy shall also install safety measures to insure that waste from J. LEAGOGO:
burning of coal shall be properly handled and stored.
In terms of fault lines, did you study whether this project site is in any fault line?
4.1.51 Bottom ash will be continuously collected from the furnace and
transferred through a series of screw and chain conveyors and bucket elevator DR. OUANO:
to the bottom ash silo. The collection and handling system is enclosed to
prevent dust generation. Discharge chutes will be installed at the base of the There are some fault linesand in fact, in the Philippines it is very difficult to find an
bottom ash silo for unloading. Open trucks will be used to collect ash through area except Palawan where there is no fault line within 20 to 30 [kilometers]. But then
the discharge chutes. Bottom ash will be sold, and unsold ash will be stored in fault lines as well as earthquakes really [depend] upon your engineering design. I
ash cells. A portion of the bottom ash will be reused as bed materialthrough mean, Sto. Tomas University has withstood all the potential earthquakes we had in
the installation of a bed media regeneration system (or ash recycle). Recycled Manila[,] even sometimes it[’]s intensity 8 or so because the design for it back in
bottom ash will be sieved using a vibrating screen and transported to a bed 1600 they are already using what we call floating foundation. So if the engineering
material surge bin for re-injection into the boiler. side for it[,] technology is there to withstand the expected fault line [movement]. J.
LEAGOGO:
4.1.52 Fly ash from the electrostatic precipitator is pneumatically removed
from the collection hopper using compressed air and transported in dry state to What is the engineering side of the project? You said UST is floating.
the fly ash silo. Two discharge chutes will be installed at the base of the fly
ash silo. Fly ash can either be dry-transferred through a loading spout into an DR. OUANO:
enclosed lorry or truck for selling, re-cycling, or wet-transferred through a wet
unloader into open dump trucks and transported to ash cells. Fly ash discharge The foundation, that means to say you don’t break…
will operate in timed cycles, with an override function to achievecontinuous
J. LEAGOGO: It[’]s there.132

Floating foundation. What about this, what kind of foundation? 4. On acid deposition in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

DR. OUANO: Relative to the threat of acid rain, Dr. Ouano stated in his Judicial Affidavit, thus:

It will now depend on their engineering design, the type of equipment… Q: In page 44, paragraph 114 of the Petition, it was alleged that "the coalfired power
plant will release 1,888 tons of nitrous oxides (NOx) per year and 886 tons of sulfur
J. LEAGOGO: dioxide (SO2) per year. These oxides are the precursors to the formation of sulfuric
acid and nitric acid which are responsible for acid deposition." Whatis your expert
No, but did you read it in their report? opinion on this matter alleged by the Petitioners?

DR. OUANO: It[’]s not there in their report because it will depend on the supplier, A: NO2 is found in the air, water and soil from natural processes such as lightning,
the equipment supplier. bacterial activities and geologic activities as well as from human activities such as
power plants and fertilizer usage in agriculture. SO2 is also found in air, water and
J. LEAGOGO: soil from bacterial, geologic and human activities. NO2 and SO2 in the air are part of
the natural nitrogen and sulfur cycle to widely redistribute and recycle those essential
So it[’]s not yet there? chemicals for use by plants. Without the NO2 and SO2 in the air, plant and animal
life would be limited to small areas of this planet where nitrogen and sulfur are found
DR. OUANO: in abundance. With intensive agricultural practices, nitrogen and sulfur are added in
the soil as fertilizers.
It[’]s not yet there in the site but it is also covered inour Building Code what are the
intensities of earthquakes expected of the different areas in the Philippines. Acid rain takes place when the NO2 and SO2 concentration are excessive or beyond
those values set in the air quality standards. NO2 and SO2 in the air in concentrations
J. LEAGOGO: lower than those set in the standards have beneficial effect to the environment and
agriculture and are commonly known as micronutrients.133
Have you checked our geo-hazard maps in the Philippines to check on this project
site? On clarificatory questions from the appellate court, the matter was further dissected
thus:
DR. OUANO:
J. LEAGOGO:
Yes. It is included there in the EIA Report.
x x x The project will release 1,888 tons of nitrous oxide per year. And he said, yes;
J. LEAGOGO: that witness answered, yes, itwill produce 886 tons of sulfur dioxide per year. And he
also answered yes, that these oxides are the precursors to the formation of sulfuric
It[’]s there? acid and nitric acid. Now my clarificatory question is, with this kind of releases there
will be acid rain?
DR. OUANO:
DR. OUANO:
No. You also answered in Question No. 61, "acid raintakes place when the NO2 AND
SO2 concentration are excessive." So whendo you consider it as excessive?
J. LEAGOGO:
DR. OUANO:
Why?
That is something when you are talking about acid…
DR. OUANO:
J. LEAGOGO:
Because it[’]s so dilute[d].
In terms of tons of nitrous oxide and tons of sulfur oxide, when do you consider it as
J. LEAGOGO: excessive?

It will? DR. OUANO:

DR. OUANO: It is in concentration not on tons weight, Your Honor.

Because the acid concentration is so dilute[d] so that it is not going to cause acid rain. J. LEAGOGO:

J. LEAGOGO: In concentration?

The acid concentration is so diluted that it will not cause acid rain? DR. OUANO:

DR. OUANO: In milligrams per cubic meter, milligrams per standard cubic meter.

Yes . J. LEAGOGO:

J. LEAGOGO: So being an expert, whatwill be the concentration of this kind of 1,888 tons of nitrous
oxide? What will be the concentration in terms of your…?
What do you mean it[’]s so diluted? How will it be diluted?
DR. OUANO:
DR. OUANO:
If the concentration is in excess ofsomething like 8,000 micrograms per standard
Because it[’]s going to be mixed withthe air in the atmosphere; diluted in the air in cubic meters, then there isalready potential for acid rain.
the atmosphere. And besides this 886 tons, this is not released in one go, it is released
almost throughout the year. J. LEAGOGO:

J. LEAGOGO: I am asking you, Dr. Ouano, you said it will release 1,888 tons of nitrous oxide?
DR. OUANO: Management Plan or Program(EMP). The EMP is "a section in the EIS that details
the prevention, mitigation, compensation, contingency and monitoring measures to
Yes . enhance positive impacts and minimize negative impacts and risks of a proposed
project or undertaking."135 One of the conditions of the ECC is that RP Energy shall
J. LEAGOGO: strictly comply with and implement its approved EMP. The Casiño Group failed to
contest, with proof, the adequacy of the mitigating measures stated in the aforesaid
In terms of concentration, what will that be? EMP.

DR. OUANO: In upholding the evidence and arguments of RP Energy, relative to the lack of proof
as to the alleged significant environmental damage that will be caused by the project,
In terms of the GHD study that will result [in] 19 milligrams per standard cubic the appellate court relied mainly on the testimonies of experts, which we find to be in
meters and the time when acid rain will start [is when the concentration gets] around accord withjudicial precedents. Thus, we ruled in one case:
8,000 milligrams per standard cubic meters. So we have 19 compared to 8,000. So
weare very, very safe. Although courts are not ordinarily bound by testimonies of experts, they may place
whatever weight they choose upon such testimonies in accordance with the facts of
J. LEAGOGO: the case. The relative weight and sufficiency of expert testimony is peculiarly within
the province of the trial court to decide, considering the ability and character of the
What about SO2? witness, his actions upon the witness stand, the weight and process of the reasoning
by which he has supported his opinion, his possible bias in favor of the side for whom
DR. OUANO: he testifies,the fact that he is a paid witness, the relative opportunities for study and
observation of the matters about which he testifies, and any other matters which serve
SO2, we are talking about ... youwon’t mind if I go to my codigo. For sulfur dioxide to illuminate his statements. The opinion of the expert may not be arbitrarily rejected;
this acid rain most likely will start at around 7,000 milligrams per standard cubic it isto be considered by the court in view of all the facts and circumstances in the case
meter but then … sorry, it[’]s around 3,400 micrograms per cubic meter. That is the and when common knowledge utterly fails, the expert opinion may be given
concentration for sulfur dioxide, and in our plant it will be around 45 micrograms per controlling effects (20 Am. Jur., 1056-1058). The problem of the credibility of the
standard cubic meter. So the acid rain will start at 3,400 and the emission is estimated expert witness and the evaluation of his testimony is left to the discretion of the trial
here to result to concentration of 45.7 micrograms. court whose ruling thereupon is not reviewable inthe absence of an abuse of that
discretion.136
J. LEAGOGO:
Hence, we sustain the appellate court’s findings that the Casiño Group failed to
That is what GHD said in their report. establish the alleged grave environmental damage which will be caused by the
construction and operation of the power plant.
DR. OUANO:
In another vein, we, likewise, agree with the observationsof the appellate court that
Yes. So that is the factor of x x x safety that we have.134 the type of coal which shall be used in the power plant has important implications as
to the possible significant negative environmental impacts of the subject project.137
Apart from the foregoing evidence, wealso note that the above and other However, there is no coal supply agreement, as of yet, entered into by RP Energy
environmental concerns are extensively addressed in RP Energy’s Environmental with a third-party supplier. In accordance with the terms and conditions of the ECC
and in compliance with existing environmental laws and standards, RP Energy is
obligated to make use of the proper coal type that will not cause significant negative The specialists shared the judgment that the conditions were not present to merit the
environmental impacts. operation of a coal-fired power plant,and to pursue and carry out the project with
confidence and assurance that the natural assets and ecosystems within the Freeport
The alleged negative environmental area would not be unduly compromised, or that irreversible damage would not occur
assessment of the project by experts in a and that the threats to the flora and fauna within the immediate community and its
report generated during the social surroundings would be adequately addressed. The three experts were also of the same
acceptability consultations opinion that the proposed coal plant project would pose a wide range of negative
impacts on the environment, the ecosystems and human population within the impact
The Casiño Group also relies heavily on a report on the social acceptability process of zone.
the power plant project to bolster itsclaim that the project will cause grave
environmental damage. We purposely discuss this matter in this separate subsection The specialists likewise deemed the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)
for reasons which will be made clear shortly. conducted by RPEI to be incomplete and limited in scope based on the following
observations:
But first we shall present the pertinent contents of this report.
i. The assessment failed to include areas 10km. to 50km. from the operation
According to the Casiño Group, from December 7 to 9, 2011, the SBMA conducted site, although according tothe panel, sulfur emissions could extend as far as
social acceptabilitypolicy consultations with different stakeholders on RP Energy’s 40-50 km.
proposed 600 MW coal plant project at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention
Center. The results thereof are contained in a document prepared by SBMA entitled ii. The EIA neglected to include other forests in the Freeport in its scope and
"Final Report: Social Acceptability Process for RP Energy, Inc.’s 600-MW Coal that there were no specific details on the protection of the endangered flora
Plant Project" (Final Report). We notethat SBMA adopted the Final Report as a and endemic fauna in the area. Soil, grassland, brush land, beach forests and
common exhibit with the Casiño Group in the course of the proceedings before the home gardens were also apparently not included in the study.
appellate court.
iii. The sampling methods used inthe study were limited and insufficient for
The Final Report stated that there was a clear aversion to the concept of a coal-fired effective long-term monitoring of surface water, erosion control and terrestrial
power plant from the participants. Their concerns included environmental, health, flora and fauna.
economic and socio-cultural factors. Pertinent to this case is the alleged assessment,
contained in the Final Report, of the potential effects of the project by three experts: The specialists also discussed the potential effects of an operational coalfired power
(1) Dr. Rex Cruz (Dr. Cruz), Chancellor of the University of the Philippines, Los plant [on] its environs and the community therein. Primary among these were the
Baños and a forest ecology expert, (2) Dr. Visitacion Antonio, a toxicologist, who following:
related information as to public health; and (3) Andre Jon Uychiaco, a marine
biologist. i. Formation of acid rain, which would adversely affect the trees and
vegetation in the area which, in turn, would diminish forest cover. The acid
The Final Report stated these experts’alleged views on the project, thus: rain would apparently worsen the acidity of the soil in the Freeport.

IV. EXPERTS’ OPINION ii. Warming and acidification of the seawater in the bay, resulting in the bio-
accumulationof contaminants and toxic materials which would eventually lead
xxxx to the overall reduction of marine productivity.
iii. Discharge of pollutants such as Nitrous Oxide, Sodium Oxide, Ozone and Based on SBMA SAP on December 7-9, 2011
other heavy metals suchas mercury and lead to the surrounding region, which
would adversely affect the health of the populace in the vicinity. 1. The baseline vegetation analysis was limited only within the project site
and its immediate vicinity. No vegetation analysis was done in the brushland
V. FINDINGS areas in the peninsula which is likely to be affected in the event acid rain
forms due to emissions from the power plant.
Based on their analyses of the subject matter, the specialists recommended that the
SBMA re-scrutinize the coal-fired power plant project with the following goals in 2. The forest in the remaining forests inthe Freeport was not considered as
mind: impact zone as indicated by the lack ofdescription of these forests and the
potential impacts the project might have on these forests. This appears to be a
i. To ensure its coherence and compatibility to [the] SBMA mandate, vision, key omission in the EIS considering that these forests are well within 40 to 50
mission and development plans, including its Protected Area Management km away from the site and that there are studies showing that the impacts of
Plan; sulphur emissions can extend as far as 40 to 50 km away from the source.

ii. To properly determine actual and potential costs and benefits; 3. There are 39 endemic fauna and 1 endangered plant species (Molave) in the
proposed project site. There will be a need to make sure that these species are
iii. To effectively determine the impacts on environment and health; and protected from being damaged permanently in wholesale. Appropriate
measures such as ex situconservation and translocation if feasible must be
iv. To ensure a complete and comprehensive impacts zone study. implemented.

The specialists also urged the SBMA to conduct a Comprehensive Cost And Benefit 4. The Project site is largely in grassland interspersed with some trees. These
Analysis Of The Proposed Coal Plant Project Relative To Each Stakeholder Which plants if affected by acid rain or by sulphur emissions may disappear and have
Should Include The Environment As Provider Of Numerous Environmental Goods consequences on the soil properties and hydrological processes in the area.
And Services. Accelerated soil erosion and increased surface runoff and reduced infiltration
of rainwater into the soil.
They also recommended an Integrated/Programmatic Environmental Impact
Assessmentto accurately determine the environmental status of the Freeport 5. The rest of the peninsula is covered with brushland but were never included
ecosystem as basis and reference in evaluating future similar projects. The need for a as part of the impact zone.
more Comprehensive Monitoring System for the Environment and Natural
Resourceswas also reiterated by the panel.138 6. There are home gardens along the coastal areas of the site planted to
ornamental and agricultural crops which are likely to be affected by acid rain.
Of particular interest are the alleged key observations of Dr. Cruz on the EIS prepared
by RP Energy relative to the project: 7. There is also a beach forest dominated by aroma, talisai and agoho which
will likely be affectedalso by acid rain.
Key Observations and Recommendations on the EIS of Proposed RPE Project
8. There are no Environmentally Critical Areas within the 1 km radius from
Rex Victor O. Cruz the project site. However, the OlongapoWatershed Forest Reserve, a protected
area is approximately 10 kmsouthwest of the projectsite. Considering the
prevailing wind movement in the area, this forest reserve is likely to be
affected by acid rain if it occurs from the emission of the power plant. This management decisions if long[-]term monitoring plots for the remaining
forest reserve is however not included as partof the potential impact area. natural forests in the Freeport are established. These plots will also be useful
for the study of the dynamic interactions of terrestrial flora and fauna with
9. Soil in the project site and the peninsula is thin and highly acidic and climate change, farming and other human activities and the resulting
deficient in NPK with moderate to severe erosion potential. The sparse influences on soil, water, biodiversity, and other vital ecosystem services in
vegetation cover in the vicinity of the projectsite is likely a result of the highly the Freeport.139
acidic soil and the nutrient deficiency. Additional acidity may result from acid
rain that may form in the area which could further make it harder for the We agree with the appellate court that the alleged statements by these experts cannot
plants to grow in the area that in turn could exacerbate the already severe be given weight because they are hearsay evidence. None of these alleged experts
erosion in the area. 10. There is a need to review the proposalto ensure that the testified before the appellate court to confirm the pertinent contents of the Final
proposed project is consistent with the vision for the Freeport as enunciated in Report. No reason appears in the records of this case as to why the Casiño Group
the SBMA Master Plan and the Protected Area Management Plan. This will failed to present these expert witnesses.
reinforce the validity and legitimacy of these plans as a legitimate framework
for screening potential locators in the Freeport. Itwill also reinforce the trust We note, however, that these statements, on their face, especially the observations of
and confidence of the stakeholders on the competence and authority of the Dr. Cruz, raise serious objections to the environmental soundness of the project,
SBMA that would translate in stronger popular support to the programs specifically, the EIS thereof.It brings to fore the question of whether the Court can, on
implemented in the Freeport. its own, compel the testimonies of these alleged experts in order to shed light on these
matters in view of the rightat stake— not just damage to the environment but the
11. The EGF and Trust Fund (Table 5.13) should be made clear that the health, well-being and,ultimately, the livesof those who may be affected by the
amounts are the minimum amount and that adequate funds will be provided by project.
the proponent as necessary beyond the minimum amounts. Furthermore the
basis for the amounts allocated for the items (public liability and The Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases liberally provide the courts with
rehabilitation) in Trust Fund and in EGF (tree planting and landscaping, means and methods to obtain sufficient information in order to adequately protect
artificial reef establishment) must be clarified. The specific damages and orsafeguard the right to a healthful and balanced ecology. In Section 6 (l)140 of Rule
impacts that will be covered by the TF and EGF must also be presented 3 (Pre-Trial), when there is a failure to settle, the judge shall, among others,
clearly at the outset to avoid protracted negotiations in the event of actual determine the necessity of engaging the services of a qualified expert as a friend of
impacts occurring in the future. the court (amicus curiae). While, in Section 12141 of Rule 7 (Writ of Kalikasan), a
party may avail of discovery measures: (1) ocular inspection and (2) production or
12. The monitoring plan for terrestrial flora and fauna is not clear on the inspection of documents or things. The liberality of the Rules in gathering and even
frequency of measurement. More importantly, the proposed method of compelling information, specifically with regard to the Writ of Kalikasan, is
measurement (sampling transect) while adequate for estimating the diversity explained in this wise: [T]he writ of kalikasanwas refashioned as a tool to bridge the
of indices for benchmarking is not sufficient for long[-]term monitoring. gap between allegation and proof by providing a remedy for would-be environmental
Instead, long[-]term monitoringplots (at least 1 hectare in size) should be litigants to compel the production of information within the custody of the
established to monitor the long[-]term impacts of the project on terrestrial government. The writ would effectively serve as a remedy for the enforcement of the
flora and fauna. right to information about the environment. The scope of the fact-finding power could
be: (1) anything related to the issuance, grant of a government permit issued or
13. Since the proposed monitoring of terrestrial flora and fauna is limited to information controlled by the government or private entity and (2) [i]nformation
the vicinity of the project site, it will be useful not only for mitigating and contained in documents such as environmental compliance certificate (ECC) and
avoiding unnecessary adverse impacts ofthe project but also for improving other government records. In addition, the [w]rit may also be employed to compel the
production of information, subject to constitutional limitations. This function is are indispensable for the project to comply with existing environmental laws and
analogous to a discovery measure, and may be availed of upon application for the standards, or how non-compliance with such recommendations will lead to an
writ.142 environmental damage of the magnitude contemplatedunder the writ of kalikasan.
Again, these statements do not state with sufficient particularity how the EMP in the
Clearly, in environmental cases, the power toappoint friends of the court in order to EIS failed to adequately address these concerns.
shed light on matters requiring special technical expertise as well as the power to
order ocular inspections and production of documents or things evince the main thrust Fourth, because the reason for the non-presentation of the alleged expert witnesses
of, and the spirit behind, the Rules to allow the court sufficient leeway in acquiring does not appear on record, we cannot assume that their testimonies are being unduly
the necessary information to rule on the issues presented for its resolution, to the end suppressed.
that the right toa healthful and balanced ecology may be adequately protected. To
draw a parallel, in the protection of the constitutional rights of an accused, when life By ruling that we do not find a sufficiently compelling reason to compel the taking of
or liberty isat stake, the testimonies of witnesses may be compelled as an attribute of the testimonies of these alleged expert witnesses in relation to their serious objections
the Due Process Clause. Here, where the right to a healthful and balanced ecology of to the power plant project, we do not foreclose the possibility that their testimonies
a substantial magnitude is at stake, should we not tread the path of caution and could later on be presented, in a proper case, to more directly, specifically and
prudence by compelling the testimonies of these alleged experts? sufficientlyassail the environmental soundness of the project and establish the
requisite magnitude of actualor threatened environmental damage, if indeed present.
After due consideration, we find that, based on the statements in the Final Report, After all, their sense ofcivic duty may well prevail upon them to voluntarily testify, if
there is no sufficiently compelling reason to compel the testimonies of these alleged there are truly sufficient reasons tostop the project, above and beyond their
expert witnesses for the following reasons. inadequate claims in the Final Report that the project should not be pursued. As
things now stand,however, we have insufficient bases to compel their testimonies for
First, the statementsare not sufficiently specificto point to us a flaw (or flaws) in the the reasons already proffered.
study or design/implementation (or some other aspect) of the project which provides a
causal link or, at least, a reasonable connection between the construction and The alleged admissions of grave
operation ofthe project vis-à-vis potential grave environmental damage. In particular, environmental damage in the EIS of the
they do not explain why the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) contained in the project.
EIS of the project will notadequately address these concerns.
In their Omnibus Motions for Clarification and Reconsideration before the appellate
Second, some of the concerns raisedin the alleged statements, like acid rain, warming court and Petition for Review before thisCourt, the Casiño Group belatedly claims
and acidification of the seawater, and discharge of pollutants were, as previously that the statements in the EIS prepared by RPEnergy established the significant
discussed, addressed by the evidence presented by RP Energy before the appellate negative environmental impacts of the project. They argue in this manner:
court. Again, these alleged statements do not explain why such concerns are not
adequately covered by the EMP of RP Energy. Acid Rain

Third, the key observations of Dr. Cruz, while concededly assailing certain aspects of 35. According to RP Energy’s Environmental Impact Statement for its proposed 2 x
the EIS, do not clearly and specifically establish how these omissions have led to the 150 MW Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant Project, acid rain may occur in the
issuance of an ECC that will pose significant negative environmental impacts once combustion of coal, to wit – x x x x
the project is constructed and becomes operational. The recommendations stated
therein would seem to suggest points for improvement in the operation and During the operation phase, combustion of coal will result in emissions of particulates
monitoring of the project,but they do not clearly show why such recommendations SOx and NOx. This may contribute to the occurrence of acid rain due to elevated SO2
levels in the atmosphere. High levels of NO2 emissions may give rise to health eliminate the exposure of coal to open air, and therefore greatly reduce the potential
problems for residents within the impact area. for particulates from being carried away by wind (coalhandling systems, Section
3.4.3.3). In addition, the proposed process will include an electrostaticprecipitator that
xxxx will remove fly ash from the flue gas prior to its release through the stacks, and so
particulates emissions will be minimal.146 (Emphasis supplied)
Asthma Attacks
We agree with RP Energy that, while the EIS discusses the subjects of acid rain and
36. The same EPRMP143 mentioned the incidence of asthma attacks [as a] result of asthma attacks, it goes on to state that there are mitigating measures that will be put in
power plant operations, to wit – place to prevent these ill effects. Quite clearly, the Casiño Group quoted piecemeal
the EIS in sucha way as to mislead this Court as to its true and full contents.
xxxx
We deplore the way the Casiño Group has argued this point and we take this time to
The incidence of asthma attacks among residents in the vicinity of the project site remind it that litigants should not trifle withcourt processes. Along the same lines, we
may increase due to exposure to suspended particulates from plant operations.144 note how the Casiño Group has made serious allegations in its Petition for Writ of
Kalikasanbut failed to substantiate the same in the course of the proceedings before
RP Energy, however, counters that the above portions of the EIS were quoted out of the appellate court. In particular, during the preliminary conference of this case, the
context. As to the subject of acid rain, the EIS states in full: Casiño Group expressly abandoned its factual claims on the alleged grave
environmental damage that will be caused by the power plant (i.e., air, water and land
Operation pollution) and, instead, limited itself to legal issues regarding the alleged non-
compliance of RP Energy with certain laws and rules in the procurement of the
During the operation phase, combustion of coal will result in emissions of ECC.147 We also note how the Casiño Group failed to comment on the subject
particulates, SOx and NOx. This may contribute to the occurrence of acid rain due to Petitions before this Court, which led this Court to eventually dispense with its
elevated SO2 levels in the atmosphere. High levels of NO2 emissions may give rise comment.148 We must express our disapproval over the way it has prosecuted
to health problems for residents within the impact area. Emissions may also have an itsclaims, bordering as it does on trifling with court processes. We deem itproper,
effect onvegetation (Section 4.1.4.2). However, the use of CFBC technology is a therefore, to admonishit to be more circumspect in how it prosecutesits claims.
built-in measure that results in reduced emission concentrations. SOx emissions will
beminimised by the inclusion of a desulfurisation process, whilst NOx emissions will In sum, we agree with the appellate court that the Casiño Group failed to substantiate
be reduced as the coal is burned at a temperature lower than that required to oxidise its claims thatthe construction and operation of the power plant will cause
nitrogen.145 (Emphasis supplied) environmental damage of the magnitude contemplated under the writ of kalikasan.
The evidence it presented is inadequate to establish the factual bases of its claims.
As to the subject of asthma attacks, the EIS states in full:
II.
The incidence of asthma attacks among residents in the vicinity of the project site
may increase due to exposureto suspended particulates from plant operations. Coal Whether the ECC is invalid for lack of signature of Mr. Luis Miguel Aboitiz (Mr.
and ash particulates may also become suspended and dispersed into the air during Aboitiz), as representative of RP Energy, in the Statement of Accountability of the
unloading and transport, depending on wind speed and direction. However, effect on ECC.
air quality due to windblown coal particulates will be insignificant as the coal
handling system will have enclosures (i.e. enclosed conveyors and coal dome) to The appellate court ruled that the ECC is invalid because Mr. Aboitiz failed to sign
the Statement of Accountability portion of the ECC.
We shall discuss the correctness ofthis ruling on both procedural and substantive Okay. On the same page, page 3, there’s a Statement of Accountability.
grounds. Procedurally, we cannot fault the DENR for protesting the manner by which
the appellate court resolved the issue of the aforesaid lack of signature. We agree with MS. MERCADO:
the DENR that this issue was not among those raised by the Casiño Group in its
Petition for Writ of Kalikasan.149 What is more, this was not one of the triable issues Yes, Your Honor.
specificallyset during the preliminary conference of this case.150
J. LEAGOGO:
How then did the issue oflack of signature arise?
Luis, who is Luis Miguel Aboitiz?
A review of the voluminous records indicates that the matterof the lack of signature
was discussed, developed or surfaced only inthe course of the hearings, specifically, MS. MERCADO:
on clarificatory questions from the appellate court, to wit:
During that time he was the authorized representative of RP Energy,
J. LEAGOGO:
Your Honor.
I would also show to you your ECC, that’s page 622 of the rollo. I am showing to you
this Environmental Compliance Certificate dated December 22, 2008 issued by Sec. J. LEAGOGO:
Jose L. Atienza, Jr. of the DENR. This is your "Exhibit "18." Would you like to go
over this? Are you familiar with this document? Now, who is the authorized representative of RP Energy?

MS. MERCADO: MS. MERCADO:

Yes, it[’]s my Annex "3," Your Honor. It would be Mr. Aaron Domingo, I believe.

J. LEAGOGO: J. LEAGOGO:

I would like to refer you to page 3 of the ECC dated December 22, 2008. Page 2 Please tell the Court why this was not signed by Mr. Luis Miguel Aboitiz, the
refers to the Environmental Compliance Certificate, ECC Ref. No. 0804-011-4021. Statement of Accountability?
That’s page 2 of the letter dated December 22, 2008. And on page 3, Dr. Julian
Amador recommended approval and it was approved by Sec. Atienza. You see that Because the Statement of Accountability says, "Mr. Luis Miguel Aboitiz, Director,
on page 3? representing Redondo Peninsula Energy with office address located at 110 Legaspi
Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City, takes full responsibility in complying with all
MS. MERCADO: conditions in thisEnvironmental Compliance Certificate [ECC][.]" Will you tell this
Court why this was not signed?
Yes, Your Honor.
MS. MERCADO:
J. LEAGOGO:
It was signed, Your Honor, but this copy wasn’t signed. My apologies, I was the one definitive ruling that the lack thereof invalidated the ECC.This is in keeping with the
who provided this, I believe, to the lawyers. This copy was not signed because basic tenets of due process.
during….
At any rate, we shall disregard the procedural defect and rule directly on whether the
J. LEAGOGO: lack of signature invalidated the ECC in the interest of substantial justice.

But this is your exhibit, this is yourExhibit "18" and this is not signed. Do you agree The laws governing the ECC, i.e., PresidentialDecree No. (PD) 1151 and PD 1586,
with me that your Exhibit "18" is not signed by Mr. Aboitiz? do not specifically state that the lack of signature in the Statement of Accountability
has the effect of invalidating the ECC. Unlike in wills or donations, where failure to
MS. MERCADO: comply withthe specific form prescribed by law leads to its nullity,152 the applicable
laws here are silentwith respect to the necessity of a signature in the Statement of
That’s correct, Your Honor.151 Accountability and the effect of the lack thereof. This is, of course, understandable
because the Statement of Accountability is a mere off-shoot of the rule-making
We find this line of questioning inadequate to apprise the parties that the lack of powers of the DENR relative tothe implementation of PD 1151 and PD 1586. To
signature would be a key issue in this case; as in fact it became decisive in the determine, therefore, the effect of the lack of signature, we must look atthe
eventual invalidation of the ECC by the appellate court. significance thereof under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rules of the
DENR and the surrounding circumstances of this case.
Concededly, a court has the power to suspend its rules of procedure in order to attain
substantial justice so that it has the discretion, in exceptional cases, to take into To place this issue in its proper context, a helpful overview of the stages of the EIA
consideration matters not originally within the scope of the issues raised in the process, taken from the Revised Manual, is reproduced below:
pleadings or set during the preliminary conference, in order to prevent a miscarriage
of justice. In the case at bar, the importance of the signature cannot be seriously Figure 1-3 Overview of Stages of the Philippine EIA Process153
doubted because it goes into the consent and commitment of the project proponent to
comply with the conditions of the ECC, which is vital to the protection of the right to 1.0 SCREENING Screeningdetermines if a project is covered or not covered by the
a balanced and healthful ecology of those who may be affected by the project. PEISS.154 If a project is covered, screening further determines what
Nonetheless, the power of a court tosuspend its rules of procedure in exceptional document type the project should prepare to secure the needed
cases does not license it to foist a surprise on the parties in a given case. To illustrate, approval, and what the rest of the requirements are in terms of EMB
in oral arguments before this Court, involving sufficiently important public interest office of application, endorsing and decision authorities, duration of
cases, we note that individual members of the Court, from time to time, point out processing.
matters that may not have been specifically covered by the advisory (the advisory
delineates the issues to be argued and decided). However, a directive is given to the 2.0 SCOPING Scopingis a Proponent-driven multi-sectoral formal process of
concerned parties to discuss the aforesaid matters in their memoranda. Such a determining the focused Terms of Reference of the EIA Study. Scoping
procedure ensures that, at the very least, the parties are apprised that the Court has identifies the most significant issues/impacts of a proposed project, and
taken an interest in such matters and may adjudicate the case on the basis thereof. then, delimits the extent of baseline information to those necessary to
Thus, the parties are given an opportunity to adequately argue the issue or meet the evaluate and mitigate the impacts. The need for and scope of an
issue head-on. We, therefore, find that the appellate court should have, at the very Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) is also done during the scoping
least, directed RP Energy and the DENR to discuss and elaborate on the issue of lack session. Scoping is done with the local community through Public
of signature in the presentation of their evidence and memoranda, beforemaking a Scoping and with a third party EIA Review Committee (EIARC)
through Technical Scoping, both with the participation of the DENR- for substantive review to the time a decision is issued on the
EMB. The process results in a signed Formal Scoping Checklist by the application.
review team, with final approval by the EMB Chief.
MONITORING. Monitoring, Validation and Evaluation/Audit stage assesses
EIA STUDY and The EIA Studyinvolves a description of the proposed project and its 6.0 performance of the Proponent against the ECC and itscommitments in
3.0 REPORT alternatives, characterization of the project environment, impact VALIDATION, the Environmental Management and Monitoring Plans to ensure actual
PREPARATION identification and prediction, evaluation of impact significance, impact and impacts of the project are adequately prevented or mitigated.
mitigation, formulation of Environmental Management and Monitoring EVALUATION/
Plan, withcorresponding cost estimates and institutional support AUDIT
commitment. The study results are presented in an EIA Reportfor
which an outline is prescribed by EMB for every major document type The signing of the Statement of Accountability takes placeat the Decision Making
EIA REPORT Review of EIA Reportsnormally entails an EMB procedural screening Stage. After a favorable review of its ECC application, the project proponent, through
4.0 REPORT and for compliance with minimum requirements specified during Scoping, its authorized representative, is made to sign a sworn statement of full responsibility
EVALUATION followed by a substantive review of either composed third party experts on the implementation ofits commitments prior to the official release of the ECC.
commissioned by EMB as the EIA Review Committee for PEIS/EIS-
based applications, or DENR/EMB internal specialists, the Technical The definition of the ECC in the Revised Manual highlights the importance of the
Committee, for IEE-based applications. EMB evaluates the EIARC signing of the Statement of Accountability:
recommendations and the public’s inputs during public
consultations/hearings in the process of recommending a decision on Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) - a certificate of Environmental
the application. The EIARC Chair signs EIARC recommendations Compliance Commitment to which the Proponent conforms with, after DENR-EMB
including issues outside the mandate of the EMB. The entire EIA explains the ECC conditions, by signing the sworn undertaking of full responsibility
review and evaluation process is summarized in the Review Process over implementation of specified measures which are necessary to comply with
Report (RPR) of the EMB, which includes a draft decision document. existing environmental regulations or to operate within best environmental practices
that are not currently covered by existing laws. It is a document issued by the
5.0 DECISION Decision Making involves evaluation of EIA recommendations and the DENR/EMB after a positive review of an ECC application, certifying that the
MAKING draft decision document, resulting to the issuance of an ECC, CNC or Proponent has complied with all the requirements of the EIS System and has
Denial Letter. When approved, a covered project is issued its certificate committed to implement its approved Environmental Management Plan. The ECC
of Environmental Compliance Commitment (ECC) while an application also provides guidance to other agencies and to LGUs on EIA findings and
of a non-covered project is issued a Certificate of Non-Coverage recommendations, which need to be considered in their respective decision-making
(CNC). Endorsing and deciding authorities are designated by AO 155 process.157 (Emphasis supplied)
42, and further detailed in this Manual for every report type. Moreover,
the Proponent signs a sworn statement of full responsibility on As can be seen, the signing of the Statement of Accountabilityis an integral and
implementation of its commitments prior to the release of the ECC. 156 significant component of the EIA process and the ECC itself. The evident intention is
The ECC is then transmitted to concerned LGUs and other GAs for to bind the project proponentto the ECC conditions, which will ensure that the project
integration into their decisionmaking process. The regulated part of EIA will not cause significant negative environmental impacts by the "implementation of
Review is limited to the processes within EMB control. The timelines specified measures which are necessary to comply with existing environmental
for the issuance of decision documents provided for in AO 42 and DAO regulations or tooperate within best environmental practices that are not currently
2003-30 are applicable only from the time the EIA Report is accepted covered by existing laws." Indeed, the EIA process would be a meaningless exercise
if the project proponent shall not be strictly bound to faithfully comply withthe MS. MERCADO:
conditions necessary toadequately protect the right of the people to a healthful and
balanced ecology. It was signed, Your Honor, but this copy wasn’t signed. My apologies, I was the one
who provided this, I believe, to the lawyers. This copy was not signed because
Contrary to RP Energy’s position, we, thus, find that the signature of the project during…
proponent’s representative in the Statement of Accountability is necessary for the
validity of the ECC. It is not, as RP Energy would have it, a mere formality and its J. LEAGOGO:
absence a mere formal defect.
But this is your exhibit, this is yourExhibit "18" and this is not signed. Do you agree
The question then is, was the absence of the signature of Mr. Aboitiz, as with me that your Exhibit "18" is not signed by Mr. Aboitiz?
representative of RP Energy, in the Statement of Accountability sufficient ground to
invalidate the ECC? MS. MERCADO:

Viewed within the particular circumstances of this case, we answer in the negative. That’s correct, Your Honor.158 (Emphasis supplied)

While it is clear that the signing of the Statement of Accountability is necessary for Due to the inadequacy of the transcriptand the apparent lack of opportunity for the
the validity ofthe ECC, we cannot close oureyes to the particular circumstances of witness to explain the lack of signature, we find that the witness’ testimony does not,
this case. So often have we ruled that this Court is not merely a court of law but a by itself, indicate that there was a deliberate or malicious intent not to sign the
court of justice. We find that there are several circumstances present in this case Statement of Accountability.
which militate against the invalidation of the ECC on this ground.
Second, as previously discussed, the concerned parties to this case, specifically, the
We explain. DENR and RP Energy, werenot properly apprised that the issue relative to the lack of
signature would be decisive inthe determination of the validity of the ECC.
First, the reason for the lack of signature was not adequately taken into consideration Consequently, the DENR and RPEnergy cannot be faulted for not presenting proof
by the appellate court. To reiterate, the matter surfaced during the hearing of this case during the course ofthe hearings to squarely tackle the issue of lack of signature.
on clarificatory questions by the appellate court, viz:
Third, after the appellate court ruled in its January 30, 2013 Decision that the lack of
J. LEAGOGO: signature invalidated the ECC,RP Energy attached, to its Motion for Partial
Reconsideration, a certified true copy of the ECC, issued by the DENREMB, which
Please tell the Court why this was not signed by Mr. Luis Miguel Aboitiz, the bore the signature of Mr. Aboitiz. The certified true copy of the ECC showed that the
Statement of Accountability? Statement of Accountability was signed by Mr. Aboitiz on December 24, 2008.159

Because the Statement of Accountability says, "Mr. Luis Miguel Aboitiz, Director, The authenticity and veracity of this certified true copy of the ECC was not
representing Redondo Peninsula Energy with office address located at 110 Legaspi controverted by the Casiño Group in itscomment on RP Energy’s motion for partial
Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City, takes full responsibility in complying with all reconsideration before the appellate court nor in their petition before this Court. Thus,
conditions in this Environmental Compliance Certificate [ECC][.]" Will you tell this in accordance with the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties,
Court why this was not signed? it remains uncontroverted that the ECC on file with the DENR contains the requisite
signature of Mr. Aboitiz in the Statement of Accountability portion.
As previously noted, the DENR and RPEnergy were not properly apprised that the relative to the copy of the ECC submitted by RP Energy to the appellate court. While
issue relative to the lack ofsignature would be decisive in the determination of the the signature is necessary for the validity of the ECC, the particular circumstances of
validity of the ECC. As a result, we cannot fault RP Energy for submitting the this case show that the DENR and RP Energy were not properly apprised of the issue
certified true copy of the ECC only after it learned that the appellate court had of lack ofsignature in order for them to present controverting evidence and arguments
invalidated the ECC on the ground of lack ofsignature in its January 30, 2013 on this point, as the matter only developed during the course of the proceedings upon
Decision. clarificatory questions from the appellate court. Consequently, RP Energy cannot be
faulted for submitting the certified true copy of the ECC only after it learned that the
We note, however, that, as previously discussed, the certified true copy of the ECC had been invalidated on the ground of lack of signature in the January 30, 2013
Statement of Accountability was signed by Mr. Aboitiz on December 24, 2008 or two Decision of the appellate court.
days after the ECC’s official release on December 22, 2008. The aforediscussed rules
under the Revised Manual, however, state that the proponent shall sign the sworn The certified true copy of the ECC, bearing the signature of Mr. Aboitiz in the
statement of full responsibility on implementation of its commitments priorto the Statement of Accountability portion, was issued by the DENR-EMB and remains
release of the ECC. Itwould seem that the ECC was first issued, then it was signed by uncontroverted. Itshowed that the Statement of Accountability was signed by Mr.
Mr. Aboitiz, and thereafter, returned to the DENR to serve as its file copy. Aboitiz on December 24, 2008. Although the signing was done two days after the
Admittedly, there is lack of strict compliance with the rules although the signature official release of the ECC on December 22, 2008, absent sufficient proof, we are not
ispresent. Be thatas it may, we find nothing in the records to indicate that this was prepared to rule that the procedure adoptedby the DENR was done with bad faith or
done with bad faith or inexcusable negligence because of the inadequacy of the inexcusable negligence. Thus, werule that the signature requirement was substantially
evidence and arguments presented, relative to the issue of lack of signature, in view complied with pro hac vice.
of the manner this issue arose in this case, as previously discussed. Absent such
proof, we are not prepared to rule that the procedure adopted by the DENR was done III.
with bad faithor inexcusable negligence but we remind the DENR to be more
circumspect in following the rules it provided in the Revised Manual. Thus, we rule Whether the first and second amendments to the ECC are invalid for failure to
that the signature requirement was substantially complied with pro hac vice. undergo a new environmental impact assessment (EIA) because of the utilization of
inappropriate EIA documents.
Fourth, we partly agree with the DENRthat the subsequent letter-requests for
amendments to the ECC, signed by Mr. Aboitiz on behalf of RP Energy, indicate its Upholding the arguments of the Casiño Group, the appellate court ruled that the first
implied conformity to the ECC conditions. In practical terms, if future litigation and second amendments tothe ECC were invalid because the ECC contained an
should occur due to violations of the ECC conditions, RP Energy would be estopped express restriction that any expansion of the project beyond the project description
from denying its consent and commitment to the ECC conditions even if there was no shall be the subject of a new EIA. It found that both amendments failed to comply
signature in the Statement of Accountability. However, we note that the Statement of with the appropriate EIA documentary requirements under DAO 2003-30 and the
Accountability precisely serves to obviate any doubt as to the consent and Revised Manual. In particular, it found that the Environmental Performance Report
commitment of the project proponent to the ECC conditions. At any rate, the and Management Plan (EPRMP) and Project Description Report (PDR), which RP
aforesaid letter-requests do additionally indicate RP Energy’s conformity to the ECC Energy submitted tothe DENR, relative to the application for the first and second
conditions and, thus, negate a pattern to maliciously evade accountability for the ECC amendments, respectively, were not the proper EIA document type. Hence, the
conditions or to intentionally create a "loophole" in the ECC to be exploited in a appellate court ruled that the aforesaid amendments were invalid.
possible futurelitigation over non-compliance with the ECC conditions.
Preliminarily, we must state that executive actions carry presumptive validity so that
In sum, we rule that the appellate court erred when it invalidated the ECC on the the burden of proof is on the Casiño Group to show that the procedure adopted bythe
ground of lack of signature of Mr. Aboitiz in the ECC’s Statement of Accountability DENR in granting the amendments to the ECC were done with grave abuse of
discretion. More so here because the administration of the EIA process involves for the benefit of present and future generations."162 The ECC requirement
special technical skill or knowledge which the law has specifically vested in the ismandated under Section 4 thereof:
DENR.
SECTION 4. Presidential Proclamation ofEnvironmentally Critical Areas and
After our own examination of DAO 2003-30 and the Revised Manual as well as the Projects. The President of the Philippines may, on his own initiative or upon
voluminous EIA documents of RP Energy appearing in the records of this case, we recommendation of the National Environmental Protection Council, by proclamation
find that the appellate court made an erroneous interpretation and application of the declare certain projects, undertakings or areas in the country as environmentally
pertinent rules. critical. No person, partnership or corporation shall undertake or operate any such
declared environmentally critical project or area without first securing an
We explain. Environmental Compliance Certificate issued by the President or his dulyauthorized
representative. x x x (Emphasis supplied)
As a backgrounder, PD 1151 set the Philippine Environment Policy. Notably, this law
recognized the right ofthe people to a healthful environment.160 Pursuant thereto, in The PEISS consists of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, which is
every action, project or undertaking, which significantly affects the quality of the mandatory for private orpublic projects thatmay significantly affect the quality of the
environment, all agencies and instrumentalities of the national government, including environment. It involves evaluating and predicting the likely impacts of the project on
government-owned or -controlled corporations, as well as private corporations, firms, the environment, designing appropriate preventive, mitigating and enhancement
and entities were required to prepare, file and include a statement (i.e., Environmental measures addressing these consequences to protect the environment and the
Impact Statement or EIS) containing: community’s welfare.163

(a) the environmental impact of the proposed action, project or undertaking; PD 1586 was implemented by DAO 2003-30 which, in turn, set up a system or
procedure to determine when a project is required to secure an ECC and when it is
(b) any adverse environmental effect which cannot be avoided should the not. When an ECC is not required, the project proponent procures a Certificate of
proposal be implemented; Non-Coverage (CNC).164 As part of the EIA process, the project proponent is
required to submit certain studies or reports (i.e., EIA document type) to the DENR-
(c) alternative to the proposed action; EMB, which willbe used in the review process in assessing the environmental impact
of the project and the adequacy of the corresponding environmental management plan
(d) a determination that the short-term uses of the resources of the or program to address such environmental impact. This will then be part of the bases
environment are consistent with the maintenance and enhancement of the to grant or deny the application for an ECC or CNC, as the case may be.
longterm productivity of the same; and
Table 1-4 of the Revised Manual summarizes the required EIA document type for
(e) whenever a proposal involves the use of depletable or non-renewable each project category. It classifies a project as belonging to group I, II, III, IV or V,
resources, a finding must be made that such use and commitment are where:
warranted.161
I- Environmentally Critical Projects (ECPs) in either Environmentally Critical
To further strengthen and develop the EIS, PD1586 was promulgated, which Area (ECA) or Non-Environmentally Critical Area (NECA),
established the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System (PEISS). The
PEISS is "a systems-oriented and integrated approach to the EIS system to ensure a II- Non-Environmentally Critical Projects (NECPs) in ECA,
rational balance between socio-economic development and environmental protection
III- NECPs in NECA,
IV- Co-located Projects, and The present controversy, however, revolves around, not an application for an ECC,
but amendments thereto.
V- Unclassified Projects.
RP Energy requested the subject first amendment to its ECC due to its desire to
The aforesaid table then further classifies a project, as pertinent to this case, as modify the project design through the inclusion of a barge wharf, seawater intake
belonging to category A,B or C, where: breakwater, subsea discharge pipeline, raw water collection system, drainage channel
improvement and a 230-kV double transmission line. The DENR-EMB determined
A- new; that this was a major amendment and, thus, required RP Energy to submit an EPRMP.

B- existing projects for modification or re-start up; and The Casiño Group argued, and the appellate court sustained, that an EPRMP is not
the correct EIA document type based on the definition of an EPRMP in DAO 2003-
C- operating projects without an ECC. 30 and the Revised Manual.

Finally, the aforesaid table considers whether the project is single or co-located.165 In DAO 2003-30, an EPRMP is defined as:
After which, it states the appropriateEIA document typeneeded for the application for
an ECC or CNC, as the case may be. Environmental Performance Report and Management Plan (EPRMP) —
documentation of the actual cumulative environmental impacts and effectiveness of
The appropriate EIA document type vis-à-vis a particular project depends on the current measures for single projects that are already operating but without ECC's, i.e.,
potential significant environmental impact of the project. At the highest level would Category A-3. For Category B-3 projects, a checklist form of the EPRMP would
be an ECP, such as the subject project. The hierarchy of EIA document type, based on suffice;171 (Emphasis supplied)
comprehensiveness and detail of the study or report contained therein, insofar as
single projects are concerned, is as follows: Further, the table in Section 5 of DAO 2003-30 states that an EPRMP is required for
"A-2: Existing and to beexpanded (including undertakings that have stopped
1. Environmental Impact Statement166 (EIS), operations for more than 5 years and plan to re-start with or without expansion) and
A-3: Operating without ECC."
2. Initial Environmental Examination167 (IEE) Report,
On the other hand, the Revised Manual delineates when an EPRMP is the proper EIA
3. Initial Environmental Examination168 (IEE) Checklist Report, document type, thus:

4. Environmental Performance Report and Management Plan169 (EPRMP), For operating projects with previous ECCs but planning or applying for clearance to
and modify/expand or re-start operations, or for projects operating without an ECCbut
applying to secure one to comply with PD 1586 regulations, the appropriate
5. Project Description170 (PD) or Project Description Report (PDR). document is not an EIS but an EIA Report incorporating the project’s environmental
performance and its current Environmental Management Plan. This report isx x x anx
Thus, in the course of RP Energy’s application for anECC, it was required by the x x Environmental Performance Report and Management Plan (EPRMP) for single
DENR-EMB to submit an EIS because the subject project is: an ECP, new and a project applications x x x172 (Emphasis supplied)
single project.
In its "Glossary," the Revised Manual defines an EPRMP as:
Environmental Performance Report and Management Plan (EPRMP) - documentation The proper starting point in determining the validity of the subject first amendment,
of the actual cumulative environmental impacts and effectiveness of current measures specifically, the propriety of the EIA document type (i.e., EPRMP) which RP Energy
for single projects that are already operating but without ECCs.173 (Emphasis submitted in relation to its application for the aforesaid amendment, must of necessity
supplied) be the rules on amendments to an ECC.174 This is principally found in Section
8.3,Article II of DAO 2003-03, viz:
Finally, Table 1-4, in the Revised Manual, states that an EPRMP is required for "Item
I-B: Existing Projects for Modification or Re-start up (subject to conditions in Annex 8.3 Amending an ECC
2-1c) and I-C: Operating without ECC."
Requirements for processing ECC amendments shall depend on the nature of the
From these definitions and tables, an EPRMP is, thus, the required EIA document request but shall be focused on the information necessary to assess the environmental
type for an ECP-single project which is: impact of such changes.

1. Existing and to be expanded (including undertakings that have stopped 8.3.1. Requests for minor changes to ECCs such as extension of
operations for more than 5 years and plan to re-start with or without deadlines for submission of post-ECC requirements shall be decided
expansion); upon by the endorsing authority.

2. Operating but without ECCs; 8.3.2. Requests for major changes to ECCs shall be decided upon by
the deciding authority.
3. Operating projects with previous ECCs but planning or applying for
clearance to modify/expand orre-start operations; and 8.3.3. For ECCs issued pursuant to an IEE or IEE checklist, the
processing of the amendment application shall not exceed thirty (30)
4. Existing projects for modification or re-start up. working days; and for ECCs issued pursuant to an EIS, the processing
shall not exceed sixty (60) working days. Provisions on automatic
It may be observed that, based from the above, DAO2003-30 and the Revised Manual approval related to prescribed timeframes under AO 42 shall also
appear to use the terms "operating"and "existing" interchangeably. In the case at bar, apply for the processing of applications to amend ECCs. (Emphasis
the subject project has not yet been constructed although there have been horizontal supplied)
clearing operations at the project site.
Implementing the afore-quoted section, the Revised Manual pertinently states in
On its face, therefore, the theory of the Casiño Group, as sustained by the appellate Section 2.2, paragraph 16:
court — that the EPRMP is not the appropriate EIA document type— seems plausible
because the subject project is not: (1) operating/existing with a previous ECC but 16) Application Process for ECC Amendments
planning or applying for modification or expansion, or (2) operating but without an
ECC. Instead, the subject project is an unimplemented or a non-implemented, Figure 2-4 presents how Proponents may request for minor or major changes in their
hence,non-operating project with a previous ECC but planning for modification or ECCs. Annex 2-1c provides a decision chart for the determination of requirements for
expansion. project modifications, particularly for delineating which application scenarios will
require EPRMP (which will be subject to Figure 2-1 process) or other support
The error in the above theory lies in the failure to consider or trace the applicable documentations (which will be subject to Figure 2-4 process). Figure 2-4, in turn,
provisions of DAO 2003-30 and the Revised Manual on amendments to an ECC. provides:
Figure 2-4. Flowchart on Request for ECC Amendments175 Letter-Request to an EPRMP to the EMB
2 CO/RO while for those with Programmatic ECC,
Scenario 1: Request for Minor Scenario 2: Request for Major Amendments a PEPRMP may need to be submitted to the
Amendments EMB CO to support the request. It is important
1. Expansion of project area w/in catchment to note that for operating projects, the
1. Typographical error described in EIA appropriate document is not an EIS but an EIA
Report incorporating the project’s historical
2. Extension of deadlines for submission 2. Increase in production capacity or auxiliary environmental performance and its current EMP,
of post-ECC requirement/s component of the original project subject to specific documentary requirements
detailed in Annex 2-1cfor every modification
3. Extension of ECC validity 3. Change/s in process flow or technology scenario.

4. Change in company name/ownership 4. Addition of new product


3
5. Decrease in land/project area or 5. Integration of ECCs for similar or dissimilar
production capacity but contiguous projects (NOTE: ITEM#5 IS
The ECC-endorsing EMB office assigns For EPRMP/PEPRMP-based requests, EMB
PROPONENT’S OPTION, NOT EMB’S)
a Case Handler to evaluate the request forms a Technical/Review Committee to
6. Other amendments deemed
evaluate the request. For other requests, a Case
6. Revision/Reformatting of ECC Conditions
Handler may solely undertake the evaluation.
"minor" at the discretion of the
EMB CO and RO will process P/EPRMP for
EMB CO/RO Director 7. Other amendments deemed "major" at the
PECC/ECC under Groups I and II respectively.
discretion of the EMB CO/RO Director
(Go to Figure 2-1)
1 [Start] 1[Start]
3 4
Within three (3) years from ECC Within three (3) years from ECC issuance (for
issuance (for projects not started)176 projects not started)177 OR at any time during
OR at any time during project project implementation, the Proponent prepares
ECC-endorsing Authority decides on the ECC-endorsing/issuing Authority (per Table 1-4)
implementation, the Proponent prepares and submits to the ECC-endorsing DENR-EMB
Letter-Request, based on CH decides on Letter
and submits to the ECC-endorsing office a LETTER-REQUESTfor ECC
recommendation Requests/EPRMP/PEPRMP/Other documents
DENR-EMB office a LETTER- amendments, including data/information, reports
based on EMB CH and/or Tech/Review
REQUEST for ECC amendment, or documents to substantiate the requested
Committee recommendations.
including data/information, reports or revisions.
documents to substantiate the requested Maximum Processing Time to Issuance Max Processing Time to Issuance of Decision
2
revisions. of Decision
For projects that have started implementation,
EMB CO 7 workdays CO CO EPRMP RO RO
EMB evaluates request based on Annex 2-1cfor
PEPRMP PEPRMP EPRMP
various scenarios of project modification.
Documentary requirements may range from a
EMB RO 7 workdays 120 90 60 30 in the original EIA incremental impacts from
Report additional land development
workdays workdays workdays workdays will have been addressed in
the approved EMP
Other document applications: max 30 workdays
(EMB CO and RO) 2. Expansion of It is assumed the ECC Amendment
land/project area modification proposal may /Environmental Performance
OUTSIDE catchment have significant potential Report and Management
or environment impacts due to absence of Plan (EPRMP)
described in the prior assessment as to how
Noteworthy in the above, which is pertinent to the issue at hand, is that the original EIA Report the project may affect the
amendment process squarely applies to projects not started, such as the subject proposed expansion area
project, based on the phrase "[w]ithin three (3) years from ECC issuance (for projects
not started) x x x". 3. Increase in capacity or Non-exceedance of PDR ECC Amendment /Letter
auxiliary component of (non covered project) Request with brief
Annex 2-1c, in turn, provides a "Decision Chart for Determination of Requirements the original project threshold is assumed that description of additional
For Project Modification." We reproduce below the first three columns of Annex 2- which will eithernot impacts are not significant; capacity or component
1c, as are pertinent to the issue at hand: entail exceedance of
PDR (non-covered Modification scenario and
ANNEX 2-1c project) thresholds or decision process are
EMP & ERA can still applicable to both
DECISION CHART FOR DETERMINATION OF REQUIREMENTS FOR address impacts & risks nonimplemented and
PROJECT MODIFICATION178 arising from operating projects issued
modification ECCs
Proposed Modifications Analysis of Proposed Resulting Decision 4. Increase in capacity or Exceedance of PDR (non- ECC Amendment
to the Current Project Modifications Document/Type of EIA auxiliary component of covered) threshold is /Environmental Performance
Report Required the original project assumed that impacts may be Report and Management
which will either potentially significant, Plan (EPRMP)
Operational projects, or those exceed PDR particularly if modification
which have stopped for ≤5 (noncovered project) will result to a next higher
years and plan to re-start thresholds, or EMP & level of threshold range
For Groups I and II EISbased ERA cannot address
Projects with an ECC impacts and risks Modification scenario and
applying for modification arising from decision process are
modification applicable to both
1. Expansion of Since the modification will ECC Amendment /Letter nonimplemented and
land/project area w/in be in an area already Request with brief operating projects with or
catchment or described and evaluated in description of activities in without issued ECCs
environment described the original EIA Report, the additional area
5. Change/s in process EMP and ERA can still ECC Amendment /Letter accountabilities from the
flow or technology address impacts & risks Request with brief process current project
arising from modification description
9. Integration of ECCs for No physical change in ECC Amendment /Letter
EMP and ERA cannot ECC Amendment similar or contiguous project size/area; no change Request with consolidated
address impacts & risks /Environmental Performance projects in process/technology but Project Description Report
arising from modification Report and Management improved management of and integrated EMP
Plan (EPRMP) (Note: Integration of continuous projects by
ECCs is at the option of having an integrated
6. Additional component Activity is directly lessening ECC Amendment /Letter
the Proponent to planning document in the
or products which will or mitigating the project’s Request with consolidated
request/apply) form or an integrated ECC
enhance the impacts on the environment. Project Description Report of
(ECC conditions will be
environment (e.g. due However, to ensure there is new project component and
harmonized across projects;
to compliance to new no component in the integrated EMP
conditions relating to
stringent requirements) modification which fall
requirements within other
or lessen impacts on under covered project types,
agencies’ mandates will be
the environment (e.g. EMB will require disclosure
deleted)
thru utilization of waste of the description of the
into new products) components and process with 10. Revision/ Reformatting No physical change on the ECC Amendment /Letter
which the new product will of ECC Conditions project but ECC conditions Request only
be developed. relating to requirements
within other agencies’
7. Downgrade project size No incremental adverse From ECC Amendment to
mandates will be deleted
or area or other units of impacts; may result to lower Relief of ECC Commitments
measure of thresholds project threshold or may (Conversion to CNC):
limits result to non-coverage /Letter-Request only We now apply these provisions to the case at bar.

8. Conversion to new Considered new application New ECC /EIS To reiterate, the first amendment to the ECC was requested by RP Energy due to its
project type (e.g. but with lesser data planned change of project design involving the inclusion of a barge wharf, seawater
bunker-fired plant to requirements since most intake breakwater, subseadischarge pipeline, raw water collection system, drainage
gas-fired) facilities are established; channel improvement and a 230-kV double transmission line. The DENR-EMB
environmental performance determined179 that the proposed modifications involved a major amendment because
in the past will serve as it will result in anincrease in capacity or auxiliary component, as per Scenario 2,Item
baseline; However, for #2 of Figure 2-4:
operating projects, there may
be need to request for Relief Scenario 2: Request for Major Amendments
from ECC Commitment prior
to applying for new project 1. Expansion of project area w/in catchment described in EIA
type to ensure no balance of
environmental
2. Increase in production capacity or auxiliary component of the original Note that the Chart expressly states that, "[m]odification scenario and decision
project180 process are applicable to both non-implementedand operating projects withor without
ECCs."183 To recall, the subject project has not been constructed and is not yet
3. Change/s in process flow or technology operational, although horizontal clearing activities have already been undertaken at
the project site. Thus, the subject project may be reasonably classified as a non-
4. Addition of new product implemented project with an issued ECC, which falls under Item#4 and, hence, an
EPRMP is the appropriate EIA document type.
5. Integration of ECCs for similar or dissimilar but contiguous projects
(NOTE: ITEM#5 IS PROPONENT’S OPTION, NOT EMB’S) This lengthy explanation brings us toa simple conclusion. The definitions in DAO
2003-30 and the Revised Manual, stating that the EPRMP is applicable to (1)
6. Revision/Reformatting of ECC Conditions operating/existing projectswith a previous ECC but planning or applying for
modification or expansion, or (2) operating projects but without an ECC, were not an
7. Other amendments deemed "major at the discretion of the EMB CO/RO exclusive list.
Director
The afore-discussed provisions of Figure 2-4, in relation to Annex 2-1c, plainly show
The Casiño Group does not controvert this finding by the DENR-EMB and we find that the EPRMP can, likewise, be used as an appropriate EIA document type for a
the same reasonably supported by the evidence on record considering that, among single, non-implemented project applying for a major amendment to its ECC,
others, the construction of a 230-kVdouble transmission line would result in major involving an increase in capacity or auxiliary component, which will exceed PDR
activities outside the project site which could have significant environmental impacts. (non-covered project) thresholds, or result in the inability of the EMP and ERA to
address the impacts and risks arising from the modification, such as the subject
Consequently, the amendment was considered asfalling under Item#4 of Annex 2-1c, project.
and, thus, the appropriate EIA document typeis an EPRMP, viz:
That the proposed modifications in the subject project fall under this class or type of
4. Increase in capacity or Exceedance of PDR (non- ECC Amendment amendment was a determination made by the DENR-EMBand, absent a showing of
auxiliary component of covered) thresholds is /Environmental Performance grave abuse of discretion, the DENR-EMB’s findings are entitled to great respect
the original project which assumed that impacts may be Report and Management because it is the administrative agency with the special competence or expertise to
will either exceed PDR potentially significant, Plan (EPRMP)182 administer or implement the EIS System. The apparent confusion of the Casiño
(non-covered project) particularly if modification Group and the appellate court is understandable. They had approached the issue with
thresholds, or EMP & will result to a next higher a legal training mindset or background. As a general proposition, the definition of
ERA cannot address level of threshold range terms in a statute or rule is controlling as to its nature and scope within the context of
impacts and risks arising legal or judicial proceedings. Thus, since the procedure adopted by the DENR-EMB
from modification Modification scenario and seemed to contradict or go beyond the definition of terms in the relevant issuances,
decision process are the Casiño Group and the appellate court concluded that the procedure was infirm.
applicable to both
nonimplemented and However, a holistic reading of DAO2003-30 and the Revised Manual will show that
operating projects with or such a legalistic approach inits interpretation and application is unwarranted. This is
without issued ECCs181 primarily because the EIA process is a system, not a set of rigid rules and definitions.
In the EIA process, there is much room for flexibility in the determination and use
ofthe appropriate EIA document type as the foregoing discussion has shown.184 To
our mind, whatshould be controlling is the guiding principle set in DAO 2003-30 in Consequently, we find that the procedure adopted by the DENR, in requiring RP
the evaluation of applications for amendments to ECCs, as stated in Section 8.3 Energy to submitan EPRMP in order to undertake the environmental impact
thereof: "[r]equirements for processing ECC amendments shall depend on the nature assessment of the planned modifications to the original project design, relative to the
of the requestbut shall be focused on theinformation necessary to assess the first amendment to the ECC, suffers from no infirmity.
environmental impact of such changes."185
We apply the same framework of analysis in determining the propriety of a PDR, as
This brings us to the next logicalquestion, did the EPRMP provide the necessary the appropriate EIA document type, relative to the second amendment to the subject
information in order for the DENR-EMB to assess the environmental impact of RP ECC.
Energy’s request relative to the first amendment?
Again, the Casiño Group, as sustained by the appellate court, relied on the definitions
We answer in the affirmative. of a PDR in DAO 2003-30 and the Revised Manual:

In the first place, the Casiño Group never attempted to prove that the subject EPRMP, Project Description (PD) — document, which may also be a chapter in an EIS, that
submitted by RP Energy to the DENR-EMB, was insufficient for purposes of describes the nature, configuration, use of raw materials and natural resources,
evaluating the environmental impact of the proposed modifications to the original production system, waste or pollution generation and control and the activities of a
project design. There is no claim that the data submitted were falsified or proposed project. It includes a description of the use of human resources as well as
misrepresented. Neither was there an attempt to subpoena the review process activity timelines, during the pre-construction, construction, operation and
documents of the DENR to establish thatthe grant of the amendment to the ECC was abandonment phases. It is tobe used for reviewing co-located and single projects
done with grave abuse of discretion or to the grave prejudice of the right to a healthful under Category C, aswell as for Category D projects.188
environment of those who will beaffected by the project. Instead, the Casiño Group
relied solely on the definition of terms in DAO 2003-30 and the Revised Manual, xxxx
which approach, as previously discussed,was erroneous.
a) For new projects: x x x For non-covered projects in Groups II and III, a x x x
At any rate, we have examined the contents of the voluminous EPRMP submitted by Project Description Report (PDR) is the appropriate document to secure a decision
RP Energy and wefind therein substantial sections explaining the proposed changes from DENR/EMB. The PDR is a "must" requirement for environmental enhancement
as well as the adjustments that will be made in the environmental management plan in and mitigation projects in both ECAs (Group II) and NECAs (Group III) to allow
order to address the potential environmental impacts of the proposed modifications to EMB to confirm the benign nature of proposed operations for eventual issuance of a
the original project design. These are summarized in the "Project Fact Sheet"186 of Certificate ofNon-Coverage (CNC). All other Group III (non-covered) projects do not
the EPRMP and extensively discussed in Section 4187 thereof. Absent any claim or need to submit PDRs – application is at the option of the Proponent should it need a
proof to the contrary, we have no bases to conclude that these data were insufficient CNC for its own purposes, e.g. financing pre-requisite. For Group V projects, a PDR
to assess the environmental impact of the proposed modifications. In accordance with is required to ensure new processes/technologies or any new unlisted project does not
the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties, the DENR-EMB pose harm to the environment. The Group V PDR is a basis for either issuance of a
must be deemed to have adequately assessed the environmental impact of the CNC or classification of the project into its proper project group.
proposed changes, before granting the request under the first amendment to the
subject ECC. b) For operating projects with previous ECCs but planning or applying for clearance
to modify/expand or re-start operations, or for projects operating without an ECC but
In sum, the Revised Manual permits the use of an EPRMP, as the appropriate EIA applying to secure oneto comply with PD 1586 regulations, the appropriate document
document type, for major amendments to an ECC, even for an unimplemented or is not an EIS but an EIA Report incorporating the project’s environmental
non-implementedproject with a previous ECC, such as the subject project. performance and its current Environmental Management Plan. This report is either an
(6) Environmental Performance Report and Management Plan (EPRMP) for single 3. Extension of ECC validity
project applications or a (7) Programmatic EPRMP (PEPRMP) for co-located project
applications. However, for small project modifications, an updating of the project 4. Change in company name/ownership
description or the Environmental Management Plan with the use of the proponent’s
historical performance and monitoring records may suffice.189 5. Decrease in land/project area or production capacity

xxxx 6. Other amendments deemed "minor" at the discretion of the EMB CO/RO
Director192
Project Description (PD) - document, which may also be a chapter in an EIS, that
describes the nature, configuration, use of raw materials and natural resources, — because (1) there is no increase in capacity; (2) it does not constitute any
production system, waste or pollution generation and control and the activities of a significant impact; and (3) its EMP and ERA as specified in the submitted EPRMP
proposed project. It includes a description of the use of human resources as well as remain the same.193 Relative to Annex 2-1c, the requested amendment was, in turn,
activity timelines, during the pre-construction, construction, operation and determinedto fall under Item#3:
abandonment phases.190
3. Increase in capacity or Non-exceedance of PDR ECC Amendment /Letter
We will no longer delve intothe details of these definitions. Suffice it to state, similar auxiliary component of (non covered project) Request with brief
to the discussion on the EPRMP, that if we go by the strict limits of these definitions, the original project thresholds is assumed that description of additional
the PDR relative to the subject second amendment would not fall squarely under any which will either not impacts are not significant; capacity or component195
of the above. entail exceedance of
PDR (non-covered Modification scenario and
However, again, these are not the only provisions governing the PDR in the Revised project) thresholds or decision process are
Manual. EMP & ERA can still applicable to both non-
address impacts & risks implemented and operating
After the favorable grant of the first amendment, RP Energy applied for another arising from projects issued ECCs194
amendment to its ECC, this time inconsideration of its plan to change the modification
configuration of the project from 2 x 150 MWto 1 x 300 MW. In practical terms, this
meant that the subject project will still produce 300 MW of electricity but will now
We make the same observation, as before, that the above applies to an
make use of only one boiler (instead of two) to achieve greater efficiency in the
unimplemented or non-implemented project with a previous ECC, like the subject
operations of the plant. The DENR-EMB determined191 this amendment to be minor,
project. Although it may be noted thatthe proposed modification does not squarely
under Scenario 1, Item#6 of Figure 2-4:
fall under Item#3, considering that, as previously mentioned,there will be no increase
in capacity relative to the second amendment, still, we find nothing objectionable to
Scenario 1: Request for Minor
this classification by the DENR-EMB, for it seems plain enough that this
classification was used because the modification was deemed too minor to require a
Amendments
detailed project study like an EIS or EPRMP. Since this is the classification most
relevant and closely related to the intended amendment, following the basic precept
1. Typographical error
that the greater includes the lesser, the DENR-EMB reasonably exercised its
discretion in merely requiring a letter request with a brief description of the
2. Extension of deadlines for submission of post-ECC requirement/s
modification.
As earlier noted, the PDR is the EIA document type with the least detail, and, thus, However, as correctly pointed out by the DENR and RP Energy, the EIA is not a
applicable to such minor modifications. Thus, the DENR-EMB cannot be faulted for document but a process:
requiring RPEnergy to submit a PDR relative to its application for the second
amendment. Consequently, as before, we findthat the Revised Manual supports the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) — processthat involves evaluating and
procedure adopted by the DENR-EMB in requiring RP Energy to submit a PDR in predicting the likely impacts of a project (including cumulative impacts) on the
order to assess the environmental impact of the planned modifications relative to the environment during construction, commissioning, operation and abandonment. It also
second amendment. includes designing appropriate preventive, mitigating and enhancement measures
addressing these consequences to protect the environment and the community's
In their Petition before this Court, the Casiño Group boldly asserts that "[t]here is welfare.The process is undertaken by, among others, the project proponent and/orEIA
nothing in the Project Description Report that provides an environmental impact Consultant, EMB, a Review Committee, affected communities and other
assessment of the effects of constructing and operating a single 300-MW generating stakeholders.200 (Emphasis supplied)
unit."196 However, to our dismay, as in their other serious allegations in their
Petition for Writ ofKalikasan, the same is, likewise, baseless. Apart from such a When the provisoin the ECC, therefore, states that a new EIA shall beconducted, this
sweeping claim, the Casiño Group has provided no evidence or argument to back up simply means that the project proponent shall be required to submit such study or
the same. report, as warranted by the DENR Rules and circumstances, which will sufficiently
aid the DENR in making a new EIA and, thus, determine whether to grant the
An examination of the PDR readily reveals that it contains the details of the proposed proposed amendment (or project modification). Aswe have seen, consistent with
modifications197 and an express finding that no significant environmental impact DAO 2003-30 and the Revised Manual, the DENR required RP Energy to submit an
will be generated bysuch modifications, as in fact it is expected that the operation of EPRMP and a PDR relative to the latter’s request involving the first and second
the power plant will become more efficient as a result of the change from 2 x 150 amendments, respectively, which led to the new EIA of the project in compliance
MW to 1 x 300 MW configuration.198 Consequently, the PDR merely reiterates the with the provisoof the ECC.
same mitigating measures that will presumably address the minor modifications to the
project design. Again, no evidence was presented to show substantial errors or Verily, the various EIA documents, such as the EPRMP and PDR, are mere tools
misrepresentations in these data or their inadequacy for providing the bases for the used by the DENR to assess the environmental impact of a particular project. These
DENR-EMB to assess the environmental impact of the proposed modifications under documents are flexibly used by the DENR, as the circumstances warrant, in order to
the second amendment. adequately assess the impacts of a new project or modifications thereto. Being the
administrative agency entrusted with the determination of which EIA document type
In fine, absent proof to the contrary, bearing in mind that allegations are not proof, we applies to a particular application for an amendment to an ECC, falling as it does
sustain the procedure adoptedby the DENR-EMB in requiring RP Energy to submit a within its particular technical expertise, wemust accord great respect to its
PDR and, on the basis thereof, approving the request for the second amendment. determination, absent a showing of grave abuse of discretion or patent illegality.

In another vein, we note that the appellate court proceeded from the erroneous In sum, we find that the appellate court erred when it ruled that the first and second
premise that the EIA is a document, when it repeatedly stated that the amendments to amendments to the subject ECC wereinvalid for failure to comply with a new EIA
the ECC require a new EIA, and not merely an EPRMP or PDR. The appellate court and for violating DAO 2003-30 and the Revised Manual. The appellate court failed to
relied on the provisoin the ECC, which stated that "[a]ny expansion of the project properly consider the applicable provisions in DAO 2003-30 and the Revised Manual
beyond the project description or any change in the activity or transfer of location on amendments to ECCs. Our examination of the provisions on amendments to
shall besubject to a new Environmental Impact Assessment."199 ECCs, as well as the EPRMP and PDR themselves, shows that the DENR reasonably
exercised its discretion in requiring an EPRMP and a PDR for the first and second
amendments, respectively. Through these documents, which the DENR reviewed, a
new EIA was conducted relative to the proposed project modifications. Hence, absent without prior certification from the NCIP that the area affected does not overlap with
sufficient showing of grave abuse of discretion or patent illegality, relative to both the any ancestral domain.Such certification shall only be issued after a field-based
procedure and substance of the amendment process, we uphold the validity of these investigation is conducted by the Ancestral Domains Office of the area concerned:
amendments. Provided, That no certification shall be issued by the NCIP without the free and prior
informed and written consent of ICCs/IPs concerned: Provided, further, That no
IV. department, government agency or government-owned or -controlled corporation
may issue new concession, license, lease, or production sharing agreement while
Whether the Certificate of Non-Overlap (CNO), under Section 59 of the IPRA Law, there is a pending application for a CADT: Provided, finally, That the ICCs/IPs shall
is a precondition to the issuance of anECC and the lack of its prior issuance rendered have the right to stop or suspend, in accordance with this Act, any project that has not
the ECC invalid. satisfied the requirement of this consultation process. (Emphasis supplied)

The appellate court ruled that the ECC issued in favor of RP Energy on December 22, While Section 9, Part II, Rule VIII of National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
2008 is invalid because the CNO covering the subject project was issued only on (NCIP) Administrative Order No. 01-98201 states:
October 31, 2012 or almost fouryears from the timeof issuance of the ECC. Thus, the
ECC was issued in violation of Section 59 of the IPRA Law and its implementing SECTION 9. Certification Precondition Prior to Issuance of any Permits or Licenses.
rules which require that a CNO be obtained prior to the issuance of a government —
agency of, among others, a license or permit. In so ruling, the appellate court
implicitly upheld the Casiño Group’s argument that the ECC is a form of government a. Need for Certification. No department of government or other agencies
license or permit pursuant to Section 4 of PD 1586 which requires all entities to shall issue, renew or grant anyconcession, license, lease, permit, or enter into
securean ECC before (1) engaging in an environmentally critical project or (2) any production sharing agreement without a prior certification from the NCIP
implementing a project within an environmentally critical area. that the area affected does not overlap any ancestral domain.

The DENR and RP Energy, however, argue that an ECC is not the license or permit b. Procedure for Issuance ofCertification by NCIP.
contemplated under Section 59 of the IPRA Law and its implementing rules as may
be deduced from the definition, nature and scope of an ECC under DAO 2003-03 and 1) The certification, above mentioned, shall be issued by the Ancestral
the Revised Manual. The DENR explains that the issuance of an ECC does not Domain Office, only after a field based investigation that such areas
exempt the project proponent from securing other permits and clearances as required are not within any certified or claimed ancestral domains.
under existing laws, including the CNO, and that the final decision on whether a
project will be implemented lies with the concerned local government unit/s or the 2) The certification shall be issued only upon the free, prior, informed
lead government agency which has sectoral mandate to promote the government and written consent of the ICCs/IPs who will be affected by the
programwhere the project belongs. operation of such concessions, licenses or leases or production-sharing
agreements. A written consent for the issuance of such certification
We agree with the DENR and RP Energy. shall be signed by at least a majority of the representatives of all the
households comprising the concerned ICCs/IPs. (Emphasis supplied)
Section 59, Chapter VIII of the IPRA Law provides:
As may be deduced from its subtitle, Section 59 requires as a precondition, relative to
SEC. 59. Certification Precondition. All departments and other governmental the issuance of any concession, license, lease or agreement over natural resources, a
agencies shall henceforth be strictly enjoined from issuing, renewing, or granting any certification issued by the NCIP that the area subject thereof does not lie within any
concession,license or lease, or entering into any production-sharing agreement, ancestral domain.202 This is in keeping with the State policy to protect the rights of
Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) to their ancestral government personnel, and their specific functionsand responsibilities. (Emphasis
domains in order to ensure their economic, social and cultural well-being as well as to supplied)
recognize the applicability of customary laws governing property rights or relations in
determining the ownership and extent of such ancestral domain.203 While the above statutory provision reveals that the ECC is an indispensable
requirement before (1) the conduct of an environmentally critical project or (2) the
The IPRA Law and its implementing rules do not define the terms "license" and implementation of a project inan environmentally critical area, it does not follow that
"permit" so that resort to their plain or ordinary meaning in relation to the intendment the ECC is the "license" or "permit" contemplated under Section 59 of the IPRA Law
of the law is appropriate. and its implementing rules.

A "license" has been defined as "a governmental permission to perform a particular Section 3(d), Article I of DAO 2003-03 defines an ECC in this wise:
act (such as getting married), conduct a particular business or occupation, operate
machinery or vehicles after proving capacity and ability to do so safely, or use SECTION 3. Definition of Terms. —
property for a certain purpose"204 while a "permit" has been defined as "a license or
other document given by an authorized public official or agency (building inspector, For the purpose of this Order, the following definitions shall be applied:
department ofmotor vehicles) to allow a person or business to perform certain
acts."205 xxxx

The evident intention of Section 59, in requiring the CNO prior to the issuance of a d. Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) — document issued by the
license or permit, is to prevent the implementation of a project that may impair the DENR/EMB after a positive review of an ECC application, certifying that based on
right of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains. The law seeks to ensure that a project the representations of the proponent, the proposed project or undertaking will not
willnot overlap with any ancestral domain prior to its implementation and thereby cause significant negative environmental impact. The ECC also certifies that the
pre-empt any potential encroachment of, and/or damage to the ancestral domains of proponent has complied with all the requirements of the EIS System and has
ICCs/IPs without their prior and informed consent. committed to implement its approved Environmental Management Plan. The ECC
contains specific measures and conditions that the project proponent has to undertake
With these considerationsin mind, we now look atthe definition, nature and scope of beforeand during the operation of a project, and in some cases, during the project's
an ECC in order to determine if it falls within the ambit of a "license" or "permit" to abandonment phase to mitigate identified environmental impacts.
which the CNO requirement, under Section 59 of the IPRA Law and its implementing
rules, finds application. Section 4 of PD 1586 provides, in part: In turn, Section 1.0, paragraphs 3 and 6 of the Revised Manual provide, in part:

SECTION 4. Presidential Proclamation of Environmentally Critical Areas and 3) Purpose of the EIA Process
Projects. — The President of the Philippines may, on his own initiative or upon
recommendation of the National Environmental Protection Council, by proclamation As a basic principle, EIA is used to enhance planning and guide decisionmaking. In
declare certain projects, undertakings or areas in the country as environmentally this Manual, EIA is primarily presented in the context of a requirement to integrate
critical. No person, partnership or corporation shall undertake or operate any environmental concerns in the planning process of projects at the feasibility stage.
suchdeclared environmentally critical project or area without first securing an Through the EIA Process, adverse environmental impacts of proposed actions are
Environmental Compliance Certificate issued by the President orhis duly authorized considerably reduced through a reiterative review process of project siting, design and
representative.For the proper management of said critical project or area, the other alternatives, and the subsequent formulation of environmental management and
President may by his proclamation reorganize such government offices, agencies, monitoring plans. A positive determination by the DENR-EMB results to the issuance
institutions, corporations or instrumentalities including the re-alignment of of an Environmental Compliance Commitment (ECC) document, to be conformed to
by the Proponent and represents the project’s Environmental Compliance Certificate. iv) Henceforth, all related previous instructions and other issuances
The release of the ECC allows the project to proceed to the next stage of project shall be made consistent with the Circular.
planning, which is the acquisition of approvals from other government agencies and
LGUs, after which the project can start implementation. c) "Permits, licenses and clearances" are inclusive of other national and local
government approvals such as endorsements, resolutions, certifications, plans
xxxx and programs, which have to be cleared/approved or other government
documents required within the respective mandates and jurisdiction of these
6) The EIA Process inRelation to Other Agencies’ Requirements It is inherent upon agencies/LGUs.
the EIA Process to undertake a comprehensive and integrated approach in the review
and evaluation of environment-related concerns of government agencies (GAs), local xxxx
government units (LGUs) and the general public. The subsequent EIA findings shall
provide guidance and recommendations to these entities as a basis for their decision f) The final decision whether a project will be implemented or not lies either with the
making process. LGUs who have spatial jurisdiction over the project or with the lead government
agency who has sectoral mandate to promote the government program where the
a) An Inter-agency MOA on EIS Streamlining was entered into in 1992 by 29 project belongs, e.g. DOE for energy projects; DENR-MGB for mining
government agencies wherein ECC of covered projects was agreed to be a projects.(Emphasis supplied)
prerequisite of all other subsequent government approvals;
As can be seen, the issuance of the ECC does not, by and of itself, authorize the
b) DENR Memo Circular No. 2007-08 issued on 13 July 2007 reiterates in implementation of the project. Although it is indispensable before the covered project
effect the intent of the MOA and reinforces the role of the ECC/CNC as a can be commenced, asper Section 4 of PD 1586,the issuanceof the ECC does not, as
guidance document to other agencies and LGUs, as follows: of yet, result inthe implementation of the project. Rather, the ECC is intended to,
among others, provide guidance or act as a decision-making tool to other government
i) "No permits and/or clearances issued by other National Government agencies and LGUs which have the final authority to grant licenses or permits, such
Agencies and Local Government Units shall be required in the as building permits or licenses to operate, that will ultimately result in, or authorize
processing of ECC or CNC applications. the implementation of the project or the conduct of specific activities.

ii) The findings and recommendations ofthe EIA shall be transmitted As a consequence, we find that the CNO requirement under Section 59 of the IPRA
to relevant government agencies for them to integrate in their decision Law is not required to be obtained prior to the issuance of an ECC. As previously
making prior to the issuance of clearances, permits and licenses under discussed, Section 59 aims to forestall the implementation of a project that may
their mandates. impair the right of ICCs/IPs totheir ancestral domains, by ensuring or verifying that a
project will not overlap with any ancestral domain prior to its implementation.
iii) The issuance of an ECC or CNC for a project under the EIS However, because the issuance of an ECC does not result in the implementation of
System does not exempt the Proponent from securing other the project, there is no necessity to secure a CNO prior to an ECC’s issuance as the
government permits and clearances as required by other laws. The goal orpurpose, which Section 59 seeks to achieve, is, at the time of the issuance of
current practice of requiring various permits, clearancesand licenses an ECC, not yet applicable.
only constrains the EIA evaluation process and negates the purpose
and function of the EIA." In sum, we find that the ECC is not the license or permit contemplated under Section
59 of the IPRA Law and its implementing rules. Hence, there is no necessity to secure
the CNO under Section 59 before an ECC may be issued and the issuance of the
subject ECC without first securing the aforesaid certification does not render it 7. Mr. Evangelista testified that the project site used to be a firing range of the
invalid. U.S. Armed Forces which would make it impossible to be a settlement area of
indigenous communities.
V.
8. Atty. Rodriguez stated that the project site is not covered by a CADT and
Whether the Certificate of Non-Overlap (CNO), under Section 59 of the IPRA Law, that from the start of negotiations on the LDA, the SBMA Ecology Center
is a precondition to the consummation of the Lease and Development Agreement verified with the NCIP that there was no application for said area to be
(LDA) between SBMA and RP Energy and the lack of its prior issuance rendered the covered by a CADT.
LDA invalid.
RP Energy further argues that, in any case, as a matter of prudence, it secured a CNO
We now turn to the applicability of Section 59 of the IPRA Law to the LDA entered from the NCIP. On October 31, 2012, the NCIP issued the subject CNO over the
into between the SBMA and RP Energy on June 8, 2010. Similar to the ECC, the project site, which should erase any doubt as to whether it overlaps with an ancestral
LDA was entered into prior to the issuance ofthe CNO on October 31, 2012. domain.

Before this Court, SBMA and RP Energy reiterate their arguments on why the CNO Upholding the arguments of the Casiño Group, the appellate court ruled that SBMA
is no longer necessary in the instant case, to wit: failed to comply with the CNO requirement and, thus, the LDA entered into between
SBMA and RP Energy is invalid. It rejected the reasons given by SBMA and RP
1. Prior to entering into the LDA withRP Energy, SBMA entered into a lease Energy, to wit:
agreement with HHIC206 -Philippines, Inc. and a CNO was already issued
therefor which, for all intents and purposes, is applicable to the area leased by 1. RP Energy’s reliance on its own field investigation that no indigenous
RP Energy being part of contiguous lots in Redondo Peninsula. community was found within the vicinity is unavailing because it was not the
field investigation by the NCIP required by the IPRA Law.
2. The site of the power plant project is very distant from the boundaries of the
lone area at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone covered by an Aeta Community’s 2. RP Energy acknowledged that Aetas were among the earliest settlers in the
Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT). municipality where the project will be built. Hence, it was not clearly shown
that in 2008, at the time the LDA was entered into, there were no
3. There was no indigenous community within the vicinity of the project area indigenouscommunities in the project site.
as stated in RP Energy’s EIS.
3. SBMA’s representation that the project site is industrial relies on a letter
4. The land where the project is located was subsequently classified as dated March 5, 2008 and the scoping checklist, which are hearsay evidence.
industrial by the SBMA. 5. The scoping/procedural screening checklist
classified as "not relevant" the issue of indigenous people. 4. The statements of Atty. Rodriguez have no probative value because he is
not an officer of SBMA Ecology Center oran officer of NCIP.
6. Ms. Mercado, who was part of the team which prepared the EIS, testified
that she visited the project site ten or more times and did not see any Aeta 5. At the time the CNO was issued on October 31, 2012, and the field
communities there. investigation relative thereto was conducted by the NCIP, the project site no
longer reflected the actual condition on December 22, 2008 when the LDA
was entered into because the households which occupied the site had already
been relocated by then.
6. SBMA, prior to entering into a lease agreement with HHIC, secured a Indeed, a CNO is required prior to the grant of a lease by all government agencies,
CNO, but oddly did not do the same with respect to the lease agreement with including the SBMA. Again, the evident intention is to prevent the impairment of the
RP Energy, considering that both leases cover lands located within the same right of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains. A lease, such as the LDA under
peninsula. RP Energy appears to have been accorded a different treatment. consideration, would result in, among others, granting RP Energy the right to the use
and enjoyment of the project site to the exclusion of third parties.207 As such, the
7. The CNO issued in favor of HHIC cannot justify the lack of a CNO for the lease could conceivably encroach on an ancestral domain if the CNO is not first
power plant project because the two projects are situated in different obtained.
locations: the HHIC project is located in Sitio Agusuhin,while the power plant
project is located in Sitio Naglatore. However, implicit in the operation of Section 59 is the practical reality that the
concerned government agency must make a preliminary determinationon whether or
While we agree with the appellate court that a CNO should have been secured prior to not to obtain the required certification in the first place. To expound, a government
the consummation of the LDA between SBMAand RP Energy, and not after, as was agency, which wishes to lease part of its property located near Padre Faura Street,
done here, we find that, under the particular circumstances of this case, the Manila City could not, and should not be reasonably expected to obtain the CNO, as
subsequent and belated compliance withthe CNO requirement does not invalidate the it is obviously inapplicable to its planned lease. In contrast, a government agency,
LDA. which intends to lease a property in a valley or mountainous region, where indigenous
communities are known to reside, conduct hunting activities, perform rituals, or carry
For convenience, and as starting point of ouranalysis, we reproduce Section 59 of the out some other activities, should be reasonably expected to secure the CNO prior to
IPRA Law below: consummating the planned lease with third persons.

SEC. 59. Certification Precondition. All departments and other governmental Even if the indigenous community does not actuallyreside on the proposed lease site,
agencies shall henceforth be strictly enjoined from issuing, renewing, or granting any the government agency would still be required to obtain the CNO preciselyto rule out
concession, license or lease, or entering into any productionsharing agreement, the possibility that the proposed lease site encroaches upon an ancestral domain. The
without prior certification from the NCIP that the area affected does not overlap with reason for this is that an ancestral domain does not only cover the lands actually
any ancestral domain.Such certification shall only be issued after a field-based occupied by an indigenous community, but all areas where they have a claim of
investigation is conducted by the Ancestral Domains Office of the area concerned: ownership, through time immemorial use, such as hunting, burial or worship grounds
Provided, That no certification shall be issued by the NCIP without the free and prior and to which they have traditional access for their subsistence and other traditional
informed and written consent of ICCs/IPs concerned: Provided, further, That no activities.208
department, government agency or government-owned or -controlled corporation
may issue new concession, license, lease, or production sharing agreement while The wording of the law itself seems to presuppose that if the concession, lease,
there is a pending application for a CADT: Provided, finally, That the ICCs/IPs shall license or production-sharing agreement is over natural resources, then the CNO
have the right to stop or suspend, in accordance with this Act, any project that has not should be first obtained. This is because the lastterm, "production-sharing
satisfied the requirement of this consultation process. (Emphasis supplied) agreement," normally refers to natural resources. But the problem arises as to what
should be considered "natural resources"; for a vacant lot, nearPadre Faura Street, or a
The law is clear but its actual operation or application should not be interpreted forest land, in Mt. Banahaw, could both beconsidered as "natural resources,"
beyond the bounds of reason or practicality. depending on the restrictive or expansive understanding of that term.

We explain. After due consideration, we find that the proper rule of action, for purposes of
application of Section 59, is that all government offices should undertake proper and
reasonable diligence in making a preliminary determination on whether to secure the
CNO, bearing in mind the primordial State interest in protecting the rights of Second, SBMA and RP Energy claim that the SBMA Ecology Center verified with
ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains. They should consider the nature and location of the NCIP that the project site does not overlap with an ancestral domain. However,
the areas involved; the historical background of the aforesaid areas relative to the the person, who allegedly did the verification, and the officer from the NCIP, who
occupation, use or claim of ownership by ICCs/IPs; the present and actual condition was contacted in this alleged verification, were not presented in court. Assuming that
of the aforesaid areas likethe existence of ICCs/IPs within the area itself or within this verification did take place and that the SBMA Ecology Center determined that
nearby territories; and such other considerations that would help determine whether a there is no pendingapplication for a CADT covering the project site and that the
CNO should be first obtained prior to granting a concession, lease, license or permit, presently recognized CADT of Aeta communities is too far away from the project
or entering into a production-sharing agreement. site, it still does not follow that the CNO under Section 59 should have been
dispensed with. The acts of individual members ofa government agency, who
If there are circumstances that indicate that a claim of ownership by ICCs/IPs may be allegedly checked with the NCIP that the project site does not overlap with an
present or a claim of ownership may be asserted in the future, no matter how remote, ancestral domain, cannot substitute for the CNO required by law. The reason is
the proper and prudent course ofaction is to obtain the CNO. In case of doubt, the obvious. Such posture would circumvent the noble and laudable purposes of the law
doubt should be resolved in favor of securing the CNO and, thus, the government in providing the CNO as the appropriate mechanism in order to validly and officially
agency is under obligation tosecure the aforesaid certification in order to protect the determine whether a particular project site does not overlap with an ancestral domain.
interests and rights of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains. This must be so if we are It would open the doors to abuse because a government agency can easily claim that
to accord the proper respect due to, and adequately safeguard the interests and rights it checked with the NCIP regarding any application for an ancestral domain over a
of, our brothers and sisters belonging to ICCs/IPs in consonance with the proposed project site while stopping short of securing a CNO. To reiterate, the legally
constitutional policy209 to promote and protect the rights of ICCS/IPs as fleshed out mandated manner to verify if a project site overlaps with an ancestral domain is the
in the IPRA Law and its implementing rules. CNO,and not through personal verification by members of a government agency with
the NCIP.
In the case at bar, we find, applying this rule of action, that the SBMA should have
first secured a CNO before entering into the LDA with RP Energy for the following Third, that the project site was formerlyused as the firing range of the U.S. Armed
reasons. Forces does not preclude the possibility that a present orfuture claim of ancestral
domain may be made over the aforesaid site. The concept of an ancestral domain
First, the Subic area is historicallyknown to be the home of our brothers and sisters indicates that, even if the use ofan area was interrupted by the occupation of foreign
belonging to the Aeta communities. In particular, the EIS210 itself of RP Energy forces, it may still be validly claimed to be an ancestral domain.211
noted that Aeta communities originally occupiedthe proposed project site of the
power plant. Thus, even if we assume that, at the time of the ocular inspection of the Fourth, that the project site was subsequently classified by the SBMA as forming part
proposed project site in 2008, there were no Aeta communities seen thereat, as of an industrial zone does not exempt it from the CNO requirement. The change in
claimed by RP Energy, the exercise of reasonable prudence should have moved the classification of the land is not an exception to the CNO requirement under the
SBMA and RP Energy to secure a CNO in order to rule out the possibility that the IPRA Law. Otherwise, government agencies can easily defeat the rights of ICCs/IPs
project site may overlap with an ancestral domain. This is especially so, in view of through the conversion of land use.
the observation previously made, that lack of actual occupation by an indigenous
community ofthe area does not necessarily mean that it is not a part of anancestral Fifth, SBMA argues that the CNO issued to HHIC should, for all intents and
domain because the latter encompasses areas that are not actually occupied by purposes, be applicable to RP Energy. However, ascorrectly ruled by the appellate
indigenouscommunities but are used for other purposes like hunting, worship or court, the CNO issued to HHIC’s shipyard cannot be extended to RP Energy’s project
burial grounds. site because they involve two different locations although found within the same land
mass. The CNO issued in favor of HHIC clearly states that the findings in the CNO
are applicable only to the shipyard location of HHIC. Last, the steps taken by SBMA,
in securing a CNO prior to its lease agreement with HHIC, was the proper and In the same vein, we reject SBMA’s argument thatthe belated application for, and
prudent course of action that should have been applied to the LDA with RP Energy. It submission of the CNO cured whatever defect the LDA had. We have purposely
does notmatter that HHIC itself asked for the CNO prior to entering into a lease avoided a ruling to the effect that a CNO secured subsequent to the concession, lease,
agreement with SBMA, as claimed by SBMA, while RP Energy did not make such a license, permit or production-sharing agreement will cure the defect. Such a ruling
request because, as we have discussed, SBMA had the obligation, given the would lead to abuse of the CNO requirement since the defect can be cured anyway by
surrounding circumstances, to secure a CNO in order to rule out the possibility that a subsequent and belated application for a CNO. Government agencies and third
the project site overlapped with an ancestral domain. parties, either through deliberate intent or negligence, may view it as an excuse not to
timely and promptly secure the CNO, even when the circumstances warrant the
All in all, we find, applying the foregoing rule of action,that SBMA should have application for a CNO under the aforediscussed rule of action, tothe damage and
secured a CNO before entering into the LDA with RP Energy. Considering that prejudice of ICCs/IPs. Verily, once the concession, lease, license or permit is issued,
Section 59 is a prohibitory statutory provision, a violation thereof would ordinarily or the agreement is entered into without the requisite CNO, consequent damages will
result in the nullification of the contract.212 However, we rule that the harsh have already occurred if it later turns out that the site overlaps with anancestral
consequences of such a ruling should not be applied to the case at bar. domain. This is so even if the ICCs/IPs can have the project stopped upon discovery
thatit overlapped with their ancestral domain under the last proviso214 of Section 59.
The reason is that this is the first time that we lay down the foregoing rule of action so To prevent this evil, compliance with the CNO requirement should be followed
much so that it would be inequitable to retroactively apply its effects with respect to through the aforediscussed rule of action.
the LDA entered into between SBMA and RPEnergy. We also note that, under the
particular circumstances of this case, there is no showing that SBMA and RP Energy In sum, we rule that a CNO should have been secured prior to the consummation of
had a deliberate or ill intent to escape, defeat or circumvent the mandate of Section 59 the LDA between SBMA and RP Energy. However, considering that this is the first
of the IPRA Law. On the contrary, they appear to have believed in good faith, time we lay down the rule of action appropriate to the application of Section 59, we
albeiterroneously, that a CNO was no longer needed because of the afore-discussed refrain from invalidating the LDA due to equitable considerations.
defenses they raised herein. When the matter of lack of a CNO relative to the LDA
was brought to their attention, through the subject Petition for Writ ofKalikasan filed VI.
by the Casiño Group, RP Energy, with the endorsement of SBMA, promptly
undertook to secure the CNO, which was issued on October 31, 2012 and stated that Whether compliance with Section 27, inrelation to Section 26, of the LGC (i.e.,
the project site does not overlap with any ancestral domain.213 approval of the concerned sanggunianrequirement) is necessary prior to the
implementation of the power plant project.
Thus, absent proof to the contrary, weare not prepared to rule that SBMA and RP
Energy acted inbad faith or with inexcusable negligence, considering that the Sustaining the arguments ofthe Casiño Group, the appellate court ruled that the
foregoing rule of action has not heretofore been laiddown by this Court. As a result, subject project cannot beconstructed and operated until after the prior approval of the
we hold that the LDA should notbe invalidated due to equitable considerations concerned sanggunianrequirement, under Section 27 of the LGC, is complied with.
present here. Hence, the ECC and LDA could not be validly granted and entered into without first
complying with the aforesaid provision. It held that all the requisites for the
By so ruling, we clarify that we reject RP Energy’s claim that the belated submission application of the aforesaid provision are present. As to the pertinent provisions of
of the CNO is an "over compliance" on its part. Quite the contrary, as we have RA 7227 or "TheBases Conversion and Development Act of 1992," which grants
discussed, the CNO should have been first secured given the surrounding broad powers of administration to the SBMA over the Subic Special Economic
circumstances of this case. Zone(SSEZ), the appellate court ruled that RA 7227 contains a provision recognizing
the basic autonomy ofthe LGUs which joined the SSEZ. Thus, the LGC and RA
7227should be harmonized whereby the concerned sanggunian’spower to approve In the case at bar, the Casiño Group only questions the alleged lack of the prior
under Section 27 must be respected. approval of the concerned sanggunians under Section 27 of the LGC. Thus, we shall
limit our discussion to the resolution of this issue. (Parenthetically, we note that prior
The DENR impliedly agrees with the Casiño Group that compliance with Section 27 consultations, as required by Section 26 of the LGC, appear to have been complied
is still required but without clearly elaborating its reasons therefor. with. This may begleaned from the EIS of RPEnergy which contains the
documentation of the extensive public consultations held, under the supervision of the
The SBMA and RP Energy, however, argue that the prior approval of the concerned DENR-EMB, relative to the subject project, as required by the EIA process,215 as
sanggunianrequirement, under Section 27, is inapplicable to the subject project well as the socialacceptability policy consultations conducted by the SBMA, which
because it is located within the SSEZ. The LGC and RA 7227 cannot be harmonized generated the document entitled "Final Report: Social Acceptability Process for RP
because of the clear mandate of the SBMA to govern and administer all investments Energy, Inc.’s 600-MW Coal Plant Project," as noted and discussed in an earlier
and businesses within the SSEZ. Hence, RA 7227 should be deemed as carving out an subsection.216)
exception to the prior approval of the concerned sanggunianrequirement insofar as the
SSEZ is concerned. We also note that the Casiño Group argues that the approval of the concerned
sanggunian requirement was necessary prior to the issuance of the ECC and the
We agree with the SBMA and RP Energy. consummation of the LDA; the absence of which invalidated the ECC and LDA.

Preliminarily, we note that Sections 26 and 27 of the LGC contemplate two We shall no longer discuss at length whether the approval of the concerned
requirements: (1) prior consultations and (2) prior approval of the concerned sanggunian requirement must be complied with prior to the issuance of an ECC. As
sanggunian,viz: discussed in an earlier subsection, the issuance of an ECC does not, by itself, result in
the implementation of the project. Hence, the purpose or goal of Sections 26 and 27
SECTION 26. Duty of National Government Agencies in the Maintenance of of the LGC,like Section 59 of the IPRA Law, does not yet obtain and, thus, the ECC
Ecological Balance. — It shall be the duty of every national agency or government- may be issued evenwithout prior compliance with Sections 26 and 27 of the LGC.
owned or -controlled corporation authorizing or involved in the planning and
implementation of any project or program that may cause pollution, climatic change, We, thus, limit the discussion as to whether the approval of the concerned sanggunian
depletion of non-renewable resources, loss of cropland, rangeland, or forest cover, requirement should have been complied with prior to the consummation of the LDA,
and extinction of animal or plant species, to consult with the local government units, considering that the LDA is part of the implementation of the subject project and
non governmental organizations, and other sectors concerned and explain the goals already vests in RP Energy the right to the use and enjoyment of the project site, asin
and objectives of the project or program, its impact upon the peopleand the fact horizontal clearing activities were already undertaken by RP Energy at the
community in terms of environmental or ecological balance, and the measures that project site by virtue of the LDA.
will be undertaken to prevent or minimize the adverse effects thereof. (Emphasis
supplied) The prior approval of the concerned sanggunian requirement is an attribute and
implementation of the local autonomy granted to, and enjoyed by LGUs under the
SECTION 27. Prior Consultations Required. — No project or program shall be Constitution.217 The LGU has the duty to protect its constituents and interests in the
implemented by government authorities unless the consultations mentioned in implementation of the project. Hence, the approval of the concerned sanggunian is
Sections 2 (c) and 26 hereof are complied with, and prior approval of the sanggunian required by law to ensure thatlocal communities partake in the fruits of their own
concerned is obtained: Provided, That occupants in areas where such projects are to backyard.218
be implemented shall not be evicted unless appropriate relocation sites have been
provided, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. (Emphasis supplied) For Section 27, in relation to Section 26, to apply, the following requisites must
concur: (1) the planning and implementation of the project or program is vested in a
national agency or government-owned and-controlled corporation, i.e., national SECTION 12. Subic Special Economic Zone. — Subject to the concurrence by
programs and/or projects which are to be implemented in a particular local resolution of the sangguniang panlungsod of the City of Olongapo and the
community; and (2) the project or program may cause pollution, climatic change, sangguniang bayanof the Municipalities of Subic, Morong and Hermosa, there is
depletion of non-renewable resources, loss of cropland, rangeland, or forest cover, hereby created a Special Economic and Free-port Zone consisting of the City of
extinction of animal or plant species, or call for the eviction of a particular group of Olongapo and the Municipality of Subic, Province of Zambales, the lands occupied
people residing in the locality where the project will be implemented.219 by the Subic Naval Base and its contiguous extensions as embraced, covered, and
defined by the 1947 Military Bases Agreement between the Philippines and the
In the case at bar, the two requisites are evidently present: (1) the planning and United States of America as amended, and within the territorial jurisdiction of the
implementation of the subject project involves the Department of Energy, DENR, and Municipalities of Morong and Hermosa, Province of Bataan, hereinafter referred to as
SBMA; and (2) the subject project may cause pollution, climatic change, depletion of the Subic Special Economic Zone whose metes and bounds shall be delineated in a
non-renewable resources, loss of cropland, rangeland, or forest cover, and extinction proclamation to be issued by the President of the Philippines. Within thirty (30) days
of animal or plant species,or call for the eviction of a particular group of people after the approval of this Act, each local government unit shall submit its resolution
residing in the locality where the project will be implemented. Hence, Section 27 of of concurrence to join the Subic Special Economic Zone to the office of the President.
the LGC should ordinarily apply. Thereafter, the President of the Philippines shall issue a proclamation defining the
metes and bounds of the Zone as provided herein.
It is not disputed that no approval was sought from the concerned sangguniansrelative
to the subject project.1a\^/phi1 Whatis more, the affected LGUs have expressed their Subsequently, the aforesaid sanggunians submitted their respective resolutions of
strong oppositions to the project through various sanggunian resolutions.220 concurrence and the President issued Presidential Proclamation No. 532, Series of
However, it is also undisputed that the subject project is located within the SSEZ and, 1995, defining the metes and bounds of the SSEZ.
thus, under the territorial jurisdiction of the SBMA pursuant to RA 7227.
In Executive Secretary v. Southwing Heavy Industries, Inc.,222 we described the
Thus, we are tasked to determine the applicability of the prior approval of the concept of SSEZ as a Freeport:
concerned sanggunian requirement, under Section 27 of the LGC, relative to a project
within the territorial jurisdiction of the SBMA under RA 7227. The Freeport was designed to ensurefree flow or movement of goods and capital
within a portion of the Philippine territory in order to attract investors to invest their
RA 7227 was passed on March 13, 1992 in the aftermath of the Mount Pinatubo capital in a business climate with the least governmental intervention. The concept
eruption and the closure of the Subic Naval Base ofthe U.S. Armed Forces. It sought ofthis zone was explained by Senator Guingona in this wise:
to revivethe affected areas by creating and developing the SSEZ into a "self-
sustaining industrial, commercial, financial and investment center to generate Senator Guingona. Mr. President, the special economic zone is successful in many
employment opportunities in and around the zone and to attract and promote places, particularly Hong Kong, which is a free port. The difference between a special
productive foreign investments."221 The SSEZ covered the City of Olangapo and economic zone and an industrial estate is simply expansive in the sense that the
Municipality of Subic in the Province ofZambales and the lands and its contiguous commercial activities, including the establishment of banks, services, financial
extensions occupied by the former U.S. Naval Base, which traversed the territories of institutions, agro-industrial activities, maybe agriculture to a certain extent.
the Municipalities of Hermosa and Morong in the Province of Bataan. Under Section
12 of RA 7227, the creation of the SSEZ was made subject to the concurrence by This delineates the activities that would have the least of government intervention,
resolution of the respective sanggunians of the City of Olongapo and the and the running of the affairs of the special economic zone would be run principally
Municipalities of Subic, Morong and Hermosa, viz: by the investors themselves, similar toa housing subdivision, where the subdivision
owners elect their representatives to run the affairs of the subdivision, toset the
policies, to set the guidelines.
We would like to see Subic area converted into a little Hong Kong, Mr. President, Special Economic Zone including shipping and related business,
where there is a hub of free port and free entry, free duties and activities to a stevedoring and port terminal services or concessions, incidental
maximum spur generation of investment and jobs. thereto and airport operations in coordination with the Civil
Aeronautics Board, and to fix just and reasonable rates, fares charges
While the investor is reluctant to come in the Philippines, as a rule, because of red and other prices therefor;
tape and perceived delays, we envision this special economic zone to be an area
where there will be minimum government interference. (4) To construct, acquire, own, lease, operate and maintain on its own
or through contract, franchise, license permits bulk purchase from the
The initial outlay may not only come from the Government or the Authority as private sector and build-operate transfer scheme or joint-venture the
envisioned here, but from them themselves, because they would be encouraged to required utilities and infrastructurein coordination with local
invest not only for the land but also for the buildings and factories. As long as they government units and appropriate government agencies concerned and
are convinced that in such an area they can do business and reap reasonable profits, inconformity with existing applicable laws therefor;
thenmany from other parts, both local and foreign, would invest, Mr. President.223
(Emphasis in the original) (5) To adopt, alter and use a corporate seal; to contract, lease, sell,
dispose, acquire and own properties; to sue and be sued in order to
To achieve the above-mentioned purposes, the law created SBMA to administer the carry out its duties and functions as provided for in this Act and to
SSEZ. In the process, SBMA was granted broad and enormous powers as provided exercise the power of eminent domain for public use and public
for under Section 13(b) of RA 7227: purpose;

Sec. 13. The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. – (6) Within the limitation provided by law, to raise and/or borrow the
necessary funds from local and international financial institutions and
xxxx to issue bonds, promissory notes and other securities for that purpose
and to secure the same by guarantee, pledge, mortgage deed of trust, or
(b) Powers and functions of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority - The Subic assignment of its properties held by the Subic Authority for the
Bay Metropolitan Authority, otherwise knownas the Subic Authority, shall purpose of financing its projects and programs within the framework
have the following powers and function: (1) To operate, administer, manage and limitation of this Act;
and develop the ship repair and ship building facility, container port, oil
storage and refueling facility and Cubi Air Base within the Subic Special (7) To operate directly or indirectly or license tourism related activities
Economic and Free-port Zone as a free market in accordance with the policies subject to priorities and standards set by the Subic Authority including
set forth in Section 12 of this Act; games and amusements, except horse racing, dog racing and casino
gambling which shall continue to be licensed by the Philippine
(2) To accept any local or foreign investment, business or enterprise, Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) upon
subject only to such rules and regulations to be promulgated by the recommendation of the Conversion Authority; to maintain and
Subic Authority in conformity with the policies of the Conversion preserve the forested areas as a national park;
Authority without prejudice to the nationalization requirements
provided for in the Constitution; (8) To authorize the establishment ofappropriate educational and
medical institutions;
(3) To undertake and regulate the establishment, operation and
maintenance of utilities, other services and infrastructure in the Subic
(9) To protect, maintain and develop the virgin forests within the (11) to promulgate such other rules, regulations and circulars as may be necessary,
baselands, which will be proclaimed as a national park and subject to a proper or incidental to carry out the policies and objectives of the Act, these Rules, as
permanent total log ban, and for this purpose, the rules and regulations well as the powers and duties of the SBMA thereunder.225
of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other
government agencies directly involved in the above functions shall be As can be seen, the SBMA was given broad administrative powers over the SSEZ and
implemented by the Subic Authority; these necessarily include the power to approve or disapprove the subject project,
which is within its territorial jurisdiction. But, as previously discussed, the LGC
(10) To adopt and implement measures and standards for grants the concerned sangguniansthe power to approve and disapprove this same
environmental pollution control of all areas within its territory, project. The SBMA asserts that its approval of the project prevails over the apparent
including but not limited to all bodies of water and to enforce the disapproval of the concerned sanggunians. There is, therefore, a real clash between
same. For which purpose the Subic Authority shall create an Ecology the powers granted under these two laws.
Center; and
Which shall prevail?
(11) To exercise such powers as may be essential, necessary or
incidental to the powers granted to it hereunder as well as to carry out Section 12 of RA 7227 provides:
the policies and objectives of this Act. (Emphasis supplied) The
Implementing Rules of RA 7227 further provide: Sec. 12. Subic Special Economic Zone. x x x

Sec. 11. Responsibilities of the SBMA. Other than the powers and functions The abovementioned zone shall be subjected to the following policies:
prescribed in Section 10 of these Rules, the SBMA shall have the following
responsibilities: (a) Within the framework and subject to the mandate and limitations of the
Constitution and the pertinent provisions of the Local Government Code, the Subic
(a) The SBMA shall exercise authority and jurisdiction over all economic activity Special Economic Zone shall bedeveloped into a self-sustaining, industrial,
within the SBF224 commercial, financial and investment center to generate employment opportunities in
and around the zone and to attract and promote productive foreign investments;
xxxx
xxxx
(f) Consistent with the Constitution, the SBMA shall have the following powers to
enforce the law and these Rules in the SBF: (i) Except as herein provided, the local government units comprising the Subic
Special Economic Zone shall retain their basic autonomy and identity. The cities shall
xxxx be governed by their respective charters and the municipalities shall operate and
function in accordance with Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local
(8) to issue, alter, modify, suspend or revoke for cause, any permit, certificate, Government Code of 1991. (Emphasis supplied)
license, visa or privilege allowed under the Act or these Rules;
This section sets out the basic policies underlying the creation of the SSEZ. Indeed, as
xxxx noted by the appellate court, Section 12(i) expressly recognizes the basic autonomy
and identity of the LGUscomprising the SSEZ. However, the clause "[e]xcept as
herein provided" unambiguously provides that the LGUs do not retain their basic
autonomy and identitywhen it comes to matters specified by the law as falling under (b) Powers and functions of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority - The Subic Bay
the powers, functions and prerogatives of the SBMA. Metropolitan Authority, otherwise knownas the Subic Authority, shall have the
following powers and function: x x x x
In the case at bar, we find that the power to approve or disapprove projects within the
SSEZ is one such power over which the SBMA’s authority prevails over the LGU’s (4) To construct, acquire, own, lease, operate and maintain on its own or through
autonomy. Hence, there isno need for the SBMA to secure the approval of the contract, franchise, license permits bulk purchase from the private sector and build-
concerned sangguniansprior to the implementation of the subject project. operate transfer scheme or joint-venture the required utilities and infrastructure in
coordination with local government units and appropriate government agencies
This interpretation is based on the broad grant of powers to the SBMA over all concerned and in conformity with existing applicable laws therefor;
administrative matters relating to the SSEZ under Section 13 of RA 7227, as afore-
discussed. Equally important, under Section 14, other than those involving defense In the Senate, during the period of amendments, when the provision which would
and security, the SBMA’s decision prevails in case of conflict between the SBMA eventually become the afore-quoted Section 13 b(4) of RA 7227 was under
and the LGUs in all matters concerning the SSEZ, viz.: consideration, the following exchanges took place:

Sec. 14. Relationship with the Conversion Authority and the Local Government Senator Laurel. Mr. President.
Units.
The President. Senator Laurel is recognized.
(a) The provisions of existing laws, rules and regulations to the contrary
notwithstanding, the Subic Authority shall exercise administrative powers, Senator Laurel. Relative to line 27 up to line 31 of page 16, regarding the provision to
rule-making and disbursement of funds over the Subic Special Economic the effect that the Authoritywill have the following functions: "to construct, acquire,
Zonein conformity with the oversight function of the Conversion Authority. own, etcetera," that is all right.

(b) In case of conflict between the Subic Authority and the local government My motion is that we amend this particular line, starting from the word "structures",
units concerned on matters affecting the Subic Special Economic Zone other by deleting the words that follow on line 31, which states: "in coordination with local
than defense and security, the decision of the SubicAuthority shall prevail. government unitsand", and substitute the following in place of those words:
(Emphasis supplied) "SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE SANGGUNIAN OF THE AFFECTED
LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS AND IN COORDINATION WITH."
Clearly, the subject project does not involve defense or security, but rather business
and investment to further the development of the SSEZ. Such is in line with the So, this paragraph will read, as follows: "to construct, own, lease, operate, and
objective of RA 7227 to develop the SSEZ into a self-sustaining industrial, maintain on its own or through contract, franchise, license permits, bulk purchase
commercial, financial and investment center. Hence, the decision of the SBMA would from the private sector and build-operate-transfer scheme or joint venture the required
prevail over the apparent objections of the concerned sanggunians of the LGUs. utilities and infrastructure SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE
SANGGUNIAN OF THE AFFECTED LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS AND IN
Significantly, the legislative deliberations on RA 7227, likewise, support and confirm coordination with appropriate government agencies concerned and in conformity with
the foregoing interpretation. As earlier noted, Section 13 b(4) of RA 7227 provides: existing applicable laws therefor."

Sec. 13. The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. – The President. What does the Sponsor say?

xxxx
Senator Shahani. I believe this would cripple the Authority. I would like to remind The President. A nominal voting should beupon the request of one-fifth of the
our Colleagues that in the Board of Directors, the representatives of the local Members of the House, but we can accommodate the Gentleman by asking for a
government units that agree to join with the Subic Special Economic Zone will be division of the House. Therefore, those in favor of the Laurel amendment, please raise
members of the Board so that they will have a say, Mr. President. But if we say their right hands. (Few Senators raised their right hands.)
"subject," that is a very strong word. It really means that they will be the ones to
determine the policy. Senator Laurel. I was asking, Mr. President, for a nominal voting. The President. A
nominal voting can be had only upon motion ofone-fifth of the Members of the Body.
So, I am afraid that I cannot accept this amendment, Mr. President. Senator Laurel. That is correct, Mr. President. But this issuch an important issue
being presented to us, because this question is related to the other important issue,
Senator Laurel. May I respond or react, Mr. President. which is: May an elected public official of a particular government unit, such as a
town or municipality, participate as a member of the Board of Directors of this
The President. Yes. particular zone.

Senator Laurel. The Constitution is there,very categorical inthe promotion and The President. The ruling of the Chair stands. The division of the House is hereby
encouragement of local autonomy, and mandating Congress to enact the necessary directed.
Local Government Code with emphasis on local autonomy.
As many as are infavor of the Laurel amendment, please raised (sic) their right hands.
We have now Section 27 of the new Local Government Code which actually provides (Few Senators raised their right hands.)
that for every projectin any local government territory, the conformity or concurrence
of the Sanggunian of every such local government unit shall be secured in the form of As many as are against the said amendment, please do likewise. (Several Senators
resolution—the consent of the Sanggunian. raised their right hands.)

The President. Well, both sides have already been heard. There is the Laurel The amendment is lost.226 (Emphasis supplied)
amendment that would make the power of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority to
construct, acquire, own, lease, operate and maintain on its own or through contract, Indubitably, the legislature rejected the attempts to engraft Section 27’s prior
franchise, license, permits, bulk purchases from private sector, buildoperate-and- approval of the concerned sanggunian requirement under the LGC into RA 7227.
transfer scheme, or joint venture, the required utilities and infrastructure, subject to Hence, the clear intent was to do awaywith the approval requirement of the concerned
approval by the appropriate Sanggunian of the local government concerned. sangguniansrelative to the power ofthe SBMA to approve or disapprove a project
within the SSEZ.
This amendment to the amendment has been rejected by the Sponsor. So, we are
voting now on this amendment. The power to create the SSEZ is expressly recognized in Section 117 of the LGC,
viz.:
As many as are in favor of the Laurel amendment, say Aye. (Few Senators: Aye.)
TITLE VIII.
Those who are against the said amendment, say Nay. (Several Senators: Nay.) Autonomous Special Economic Zones

Senator Laurel. Mr. President, may I ask for a nominal voting. SECTION 117. Establishment of Autonomous Special Economic Zones. — The
establishment by law of autonomous special economic zones in selected areas of the
country shall be subject to concurrence by the local government units included the decision-making process of the SBMA are matters outside the scope of the power
therein. of judicial review. We can only interpret and apply the law as we find it.

When the concerned sanggunians opted to join the SSEZ, they were, thus, fully aware In sum, we find that the implementation of the project is not subject to the prior
that this would lead to some diminution of their local autonomy in order to gain the approval of the concerned sanggunians, under Section 27 of the LGC, and the
benefits and privileges of being a part of the SSEZ. SBMA’s decision to approve the project prevails over the apparent objections of the
concerned sangguniansof the LGUs, by virtue ofthe clear provisions of RA 7227.
Further, the point of Senator Shahani that the representation of the concerned LGUs Thus, there was no infirmity when the LDA was entered into between SBMA and RP
in the Board of Directors will compensate for the diminution of their local autonomy Energy despite the lack of approval of the concerned sanggunians. VII.
and allow them to be represented in the decision-making of the SBMA is not lost on
us. This is expressly provided for in Section 13(c) of RA 7227, viz: Whether the validity of the third amendment to the ECC can be resolved by the Court.

SECTION 13. The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. — The Casiño Group argues that the validity of the third amendment should have been
resolved by the appellate court because it is covered by the broad issues set during the
xxxx preliminary conference.

(c) Board of Directors. — The powers of the Subic Authority shall be vested in and RP Energy counters that this issue cannot be resolved because it was expressly
exercised by a Board of Directors, hereinafter referred to as the Board, which shall be excluded during the preliminary conference.
composed of fifteen (15) members, to wit:
The appellate court sustained the position of RP Energy and ruled that this issue was
(1) Representatives of the local government units that concur to join the Subic not included in the preliminary conference so that it cannot be resolved without
Special Economic Zone; violating the right todue process of RP Energy.

(2) Two (2) representatives from the National Government; We agree with the appellate court.

(3) Five (5) representatives from the private sector coming from the present Indeed, the issue of the validity of the third amendment to the ECC was not part of
naval stations, public works center, ship repair facility, naval supply depot and the issues set during the preliminary conference, as it appears at that time that the
naval air station; and application for the third amendment was still ongoing. The following clarificatory
questions during the aforesaid conference confirm this, viz.:
(4) The remaining balance to complete the Board shall be composed of
representatives from the business and investment sectors. (Emphasis supplied) J. LEAGOGO:

SBMA’s undisputed claim is that, during the board meeting when the subject project So what are you questioning in your Petition?
was approved, exceptfor one, all the representatives of the concerned LGUs were
present and voted to approve the subject project.227 Verily, the wisdom of the law ATTY. RIDON:
creating the SSEZ; the wisdom of the choice of the concerned LGUs to join the
SSEZ; and the wisdom ofthe mechanism of representation of the concerned LGUs in We are questioning the validity of the amendment, Your Honor.
J. LEAGOGO: Yes, Your Honor.

Which amendment? J. LEAGOGO:

ATTY. RIDON: Because there is no amended ECC yet for the 2 x 300 or 600. That’s clear enough for
all of us.
From 2 x 150 to 1 x 300, Your Honor.
ATTY. RIDON:
J. LEAGOGO:
Yes, Your Honor.228
Your Petition does not involve the 2 x 300 which is still pending with the DENR.
Because you still have remedies there, you can make your noise there, you can Given the invocation of the right to due process by RP Energy, we must sustain the
question it to your heart[’]s content because it is still pending appellate court’s finding that the issue as to the validity of the third amendment
cannot be adjudicated in this case.
xxxx
Refutation of the Partial Dissent.
J. LEAGOGO:
Justice Leonen partially dissents from the foregoing disposition on the following
Atty. Ridon, I go back to my question. We’re not yet talking of the legal points here. grounds:
I’m just talking of what are you questioning. You are questioning the 1 x 300?
(a) Environmental cases, such asa petition for a writ of kalikasan, should not,
ATTY. RIDON: in general,be litigated viaa representative, citizen or class suit because of the
danger of misrepresenting the interests— and thus, barring future action due
Yes, Your Honor. to res judicata— of those not actually present in the prosecution of the case,
either because they do not yet exist, like the unborn generations, or because
J. LEAGOGO: the parties bringing suit do not accurately represent the interests ofthe group
they represent or the class to which they belong. As an exception, such
Because it was 2 x 150 and then 1 x 300? representative, citizen or class suit may be allowed subject to certain
conditions; and
ATTY. RIDON:
(b) The amendments to the ECC, granted by the DENR in favor of RP Energy,
Yes, Your Honor. are void for failure to submit a new EIS in support of the applications for
these amendments to the subject ECC, and a petition for writ of kalikasanis
J. LEAGOGO: not the proper remedy to raise a defect inthe ECC.

Up to that point? We disagree.

ATTY. RIDON: A.
Justice Leonen’s proposition that environmental cases should not, in general, be (c) alternative to the proposed action;
litigated via a representative, citizen or class suit is both novel and ground-breaking.
However, it isinappropriate to resolve such an important issue in this case, in view of (d) a determination that the short-term uses of the resources of the
the requisites for the exercise of our power of judicial review, because the matter was environment are consistent with the maintenance and enhancement of the
not raised by the parties so that the issue was not squarely tackled and fully long-term productivity of the same; and
ventilated. The proposition will entail, as Justice Leonen explains, an abandonment
or, at least, a modification of our ruling in the landmark case of Oposa v. (e) whenever a proposal involves the use of depletable or nonrenewable
Factoran.229 It will also require an amendment or a modification of Section 5 (on resources, a finding must be made that such use and commitment are
citizen suits), Rule 2 ofthe Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases. Hence, it is warranted.
more appropriate to await a case where such issues and arguments are properly
raisedby the parties for the consideration of the Court. Before an environmental impact statement is issued by a lead agency, all agencies
having jurisdiction over, or special expertise on, the subject matter involved shall
B. comment on the draft environmental impact statement made by the lead agency
within thirty (30) days from receipt of the same. (Emphasis supplied)
Justice Leonen reasons that the amendments to the subject ECC are void because the
applications therefor were unsupported by anEIS, as required by PD 1151 and PD As earlier stated, the EIS was subsequently developed and strengthened through PD
1586. The claim is made that an EIS is required by law, even if the amendment to the 1586 which established the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System.
ECC is minor, because an EIS is necessary to determine the environmental impact of Sections 4 and 5 of PD 1586 provide:
the proposed modifications to the original project design. The DENR rules, therefore,
which permit the modification of the original project design without the requisite EIS, SECTION 4. Presidential Proclamation of Environmentally Critical Areas and
are void for violating PD 1151 and PD 1586. Projects.1avvphi1 The President of the Philippines may, on his own initiative or upon
recommendation of the National Environmental Protection Council, by proclamation
We disagree. declare certain projects, undertakings or areas in the country as environmentally
critical. No person, partnership or corporation shall undertake or operate any such
Indeed, Section 4 of PD 1151 sets out the basic policy of requiring an EIS in every declared environmentally critical project or area without first securing an
action, project or undertaking that significantly affects the quality of the environment, Environmental Compliance Certificate issued by the President or his duly authorized
viz: representative. For the proper management of said critical project or area, the
President may by his proclamation reorganize such government offices, agencies,
SECTION 4. Environmental Impact Statements. — Pursuant to the above enunciated institutions, corporations or instrumentalities including the re-alignment of
policies and goals, all agencies and instrumentalities of the national government, government personnel, and their specific functions and responsibilities.
including government-owned or -controlled corporations, as well as private
corporations, firms and entities shall prepare, file and include in every action, For the same purpose as above, the Ministry of Human Settlements shall: (a) prepare
projector undertaking which significantly affects the quality of the environmenta the proper land or water use pattern for said critical project(s) or area(s); (b) establish
detailed statement on — ambient environmental quality standards; (c) develop a program of environmental
enhancement or protective measures against calamituous factors such as earthquake,
(a) the environmental impact of the proposed action, project or undertaking; floods, water erosion and others, and (d) perform such other functions as may be
directed by the President from time to time.
(b) any adverse environmental effect which cannot be avoided should the
proposal be implemented;
SECTION 5. Environmentally Non-Critical Projects. — All other projects, power to amend the ECC for justifiable reasons. This issue was no longer raised
undertakings and areas not declared by the President as environmentally critical shall before this Court and, thus, we no longertackle the same here.
be considered as non-critical and shall not be required to submit an environmental
impact statement. The National Environmental Protection Council, thru the Ministry Because PD 1586 did not expressly provide the procedure to be followed in case of
of Human Settlements may however require non-critical projects and undertakings to an application for an amendment toa previously issued ECC, the DENR exercised its
provide additional environmental safeguards as it may deem necessary. (Emphasis discretion, pursuant to its delegated authority to implement this law, in issuing DAO
supplied) 2003-30 and the Revised Manual.

These laws were, in turn, implemented by DAO 2003-30 and the Revised Manual. Justice Leonen’s argument effectively challenges the validity of the provisions in
DAO 2003-30 and the Revised Manual relative to amendments to an ECC for being
As correctly noted by Justice Leonen,Presidential Proclamation No. 2146 was contrary to PD 1151 and 1586.
subsequently issued which, among others, classified fossil-fueled power plants as
environmentally critical projects. We disagree.

In conformity with the above-quoted laws and their implementing issuances, the First, to repeat, there is nothing in PD 1586 which expressly requires an EIS for an
subject project, a coal power plant, was classified by the DENR as an amendment to an ECC.
environmentally critical project, new and single. Hence, RP Energy was required to
submit an EIS in support of its application for an ECC. RP Energy thereafter Second, as earlier noted, the proposition would constitute a collateral attack on the
complied with the EIS requirement and the DENR, after review, evaluation and validity of DAO 2003-30 and the Revised Manual, which is not allowed under the
compliance with the other steps provided in its rules, issued an ECC in favor of RP premises. The Casiño Group itself has abandoned this claim before this Court so that
Energy. As can be seen, the EIS requirement was duly complied with. the issue is not properly before this Court for its resolution.

Anent Justice Leonen’s argument thatthe subsequent amendments to the ECC were Third, assuming that a collateral attack on the validity of DAO 2003-30 and the
void for failure to prepare and submit a new EIS relative to these amendments, it is Revised Manual can be allowed in this case, the rules on amendments appear to be
important to note thatPD 1586 does not state the procedure to be followed when there reasonable, absent a showing of grave abuse of discretion or patent illegality.
is an application for an amendment to a previously issued ECC. There is nothing in
PD 1586 which expressly requires an EIS for an amendment to an ECC. Essentially, the rules take into consideration the nature of the amendment in
determining the proper Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) document type that
In footnote 174 of the ponencia, it is stated: the project proponent will submit in support of its application for an amendment to its
previously issued ECC. A minor amendment will require a less detailed EIA
Parenthetically, we must mention that the validity of the rules providing for document type, like a Project Description Report (PDR), while a major amendment
amendments to the ECC was challenged by the Casiño Group on the ground that it is will require a more detailed EIA document type, like an Environmental Performance
ultra vires before the appellate court. It argued that the laws governing the ECC do Report and Management Plan (EPRMP) or even an EIS.230
not expressly permit the amendment of an ECC. However, the appellate court
correctly ruled that the validity of the rules cannot be collaterally attacked. The rules appear to be based on the premise that it would be unduly burden some or
Besides,the power of the DENR to issue rules on amendments of an ECC is impractical to require a project proponent to submit a detailed EIA document type,
sanctioned under the doctrine of necessary implication. Considering that the greater like an EIS, for amendments that, upon preliminary evaluation by the DENR, will not
power todeny or grant an ECC is vested by law in the President or his authorized cause significant environmental impact. In particular, as applied to the subject project,
representative, the DENR, there is no obstacle to the exercise of the lesser or implied the DENR effectively determined that it is impractical to requireRP Energy to, in a
manner of speaking, start from scratch by submitting a new EIS in support of its As previously discussed, in the case at bar, only the allegation with respect to the lack
application for the first amendment to its previously issued ECC, considering that the of an EIA relative to the first and second amendments to the subject ECC may be
existing EIS may be supplemented by an EPRMP to adequately evaluate the reasonably connected to such an environmental damage. Further, given the extreme
environmental impact of the proposed modifications under the first amendment. The urgency of resolving the issue due to the looming power crisis, this case may be
same reasoning may be applied to the PDR relative to the second amendment. As considered as falling under an exception to the doctrine of exhaustion of
previously discussed, the Casiño Group failed to provethat the EPRMP and PDR administrative remedies. Thus, the aforesaid issue may be conceivably resolved in a
were inadequate to assess the environmental impact of the planned modifications writ of kalikasan case.
under the first and second amendments, respectively. On the contrary, the EPRMP
and PDR appeared to contain the details of the planned modifications and the More importantly, we have expressly ruled that this case is an exceptional case due to
corresponding adjustments to bemade in the environmental management plan or the looming power crisis, so that the rules of procedure may be suspended in order to
mitigating measures inorder to address the potential impacts of these planned address issues which, ordinarily, the Court would not consider proper in a writ of
modifications. Hence, absent sufficient proof, there is no basis to conclude that the kalikasan case. Hence, all issues, including those not proper in a writ of kalikasan
procedure adopted by the DENR was done with grave abuse of discretion. case, were resolved here in order to forestall another round of protracted litigation
relative to the implementation of the subject project.
Justice Leonen’s proposition would effectively impose a stringent requirement of an
EIS for each and every proposed amendment to an ECC, no matter how minor the Conclusion
amendment may be. While this requirement would seem ideal, in order to ensure that
the environmental impact of the proposed amendment is fully taken into We now summarize our findings:
consideration, the pertinent laws do not, however, expressly require that such a
procedure be followed.As already discussed, the DENR appear to have reasonably 1. The appellate court correctly ruled that the Casiño Group failed to
issued DAO 2003-30 and the Revised Manualrelative to the amendment process of an substantiate its claims thatthe construction and operation of the power plant
ECC, by balancing practicality vis-à-vis the need for sufficient information in will cause environmental damage of the magnitude contemplated under the
determining the environmental impact of the proposed amendment to an ECC. In fine, writ of kalikasan. On the other hand, RP Energy presented evidenceto
the Court cannot invalidate the rules which appear to be reasonable, absent a showing establish that the subject project will not cause grave environmental damage,
of grave abuse of discretion or patent illegality. through its Environmental Management Plan, which will ensure thatthe
project will operate within the limits of existing environmental laws and
We next tackle Justice Leonen’s argument that a petition for certiorari,and not a writ standards;
of kalikasan,is the proper remedy to question a defect in an ECC.
2. The appellate court erred when it invalidated the ECC on the ground of lack
In general, the proper procedure to question a defectin an ECC is to follow the appeal of signature of Mr. Aboitiz in the ECC’s Statement of Accountability relative
process provided in DAO 2003-30 and the Revised Manual. After complying with the to the copy of the ECC submitted by RP Energy to the appellate court. While
proper administrative appeal process, recourse may be made to the courts in the signature is necessary for the validity of the ECC, the particular
accordance with the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies. However, as circumstances of this case show that the DENR and RP Energy were not
earlier discussed, in exceptional cases, a writ of kalikasan may be availed of to properly apprised of the issue of lack of signature in order for them to present
challenge defects in the ECC providedthat (1) the defects are causally linked or controverting evidence and arguments on this point, as the issue only arose
reasonably connected to an environmental damage of the nature and during the course of the proceedings upon clarificatory questions from the
magnitudecontemplated under the Rules on Writ of Kalikasan, and (2) the case does appellate court. Consequently, RP Energy cannot be faulted for submitting the
not violate, or falls under an exception to, the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative certified true copy of the ECC only after it learned that the ECC had been
remedies and/or primary jurisdiction. invalidatedon the ground of lack of signature in the January 30, 2013 Decision
of the appellate court. The certified true copy of the ECC, bearing the LDA between SBMA and RP Energy, considering that this is the first time we
signature of Mr. Aboitiz in the Statement of Accountability portion, was lay down the rule of action appropriate to the application of Section 59, we
issued by the DENR-EMB, and remains uncontroverted. It showed that the refrain from invalidating the LDA for reasons of equity;
Statement of Accountability was signed by Mr. Aboitiz on December 24,
2008. Because the signing was done after the official release of the ECC on 6. The appellate court erred when it ruled that compliance with Section 27, in
December 22, 2008, wenote that the DENR did not strictly follow its rules, relation to Section 26, of the LGC (i.e., approval of the concerned sanggunian
which require that the signing of the Statement of Accountability should be requirement) is necessary prior to issuance of the subjectECC. The issuance of
done before the official release of the ECC. However, considering that the an ECC does not, by itself, result inthe implementation of the project. Hence,
issue was not adequately argued norwas evidence presented before the there is no necessity to secure prior compliance with the approval of the
appellate court on the circumstances at the time of signing, there is concerned sanggunian requirement, and the issuance of the subject ECC
insufficient basis to conclude that the procedure adoptedby the DENR was without first complying with the aforesaid requirement does not render it
tainted with bad faith or inexcusable negligence. We remind the DENR, invalid. The appellate court also erred when it ruled that compliance with the
however, to be more circumspect in following its rules. Thus, we rule that the aforesaid requirement is necessary prior to the consummation of the LDA. By
signature requirement was substantially complied with pro hac vice. virtue of the clear provisions of RA 7227, the project is not subject to the
aforesaid requirement and the SBMA’s decision to approve the project
3. The appellate court erred when it ruled that the first and second prevails over the apparent objections of the concerned sanggunians. Thus, the
amendments to the ECC were invalid for failure to comply with a new EIA LDA entered into between SBMA and RP Energy suffers from no infirmity
and for violating DAO 2003-30 and the Revised Manual. It failed to properly despite the lack of approval of the concerned sanggunians; and
consider the applicable provisions in DAO 2003-30 and the Revised Manual
for amendment to ECCs. Our own examination of the provisions on 7. The appellate court correctly ruled thatthe issue as to the validity of the
amendments to ECCs in DAO 2003-30 and the Revised Manual, as wellas the third amendment to the ECC cannot be resolved in this case because it was not
EPRMP and PDR themselves, shows that the DENR reasonably exercised its one of the issues set during the preliminary conference, and would, thus,
discretion in requiring an EPRMP and a PDR for the first and second violate RP Energy’s right to due process. WHEREFORE, the Court resolves
amendments, respectively. Through these documents, which the DENR to:
reviewed, a new EIA was conducted relative to the proposed project
modifications. Hence, absent sufficient showing of grave abuse of discretion 1. DENY the Petition in G.R. No. 207282; and
or patent illegality, relative to both the procedure and substance of the
amendment process, we uphold the validity of these amendments; 2. GRANT the Petitions in G.R.Nos. 207257, 207366 and 207276:

4. The appellate court erred when it invalidated the ECC for failure to comply 2.1. The January 30, 2013 Decision and May 22, 2013
with Section 59 of the IPRA Law.1âwphi1 The ECC is not the license or Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 00015
permit contemplated under Section 59 of the IPRA Law and its implementing are reversed and set aside;
rules. Hence, there is no necessity to secure the CNO under Section 59 before
an ECC may be issued, and the issuance of the subject ECC without first 2.2. The Petition for Writ of Kalikasan, docketed as CA-G.R.
securing the aforesaid certification does not render it invalid; SP No. 00015, is denied for insufficiency of evidence;

5. The appellate court erred when it invalidated the LDA between SBMA and 2.3. The validity of the December 22, 2008 Environmental
RP Energy for failure to comply withSection 59 of the IPRA Law. While we Compliance Certificate, as well as the July 8, 2010 first
find that a CNO should have been secured prior to the consummation of the amendment and the May 26, 2011 second amendment thereto,
issued by the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources in favor of Redondo Peninsula Energy, Inc., are
upheld; and

2.4. The validity of the June 8, 2010 Lease and Development


Agreement between Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and
Redondo Peninsula Energy, Inc. is upheld.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 211362 February 24, 2015 On March 25, 2014, Filipina P. Cudia, acting for he