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Andres Lapitan v Scandia Inc. and General Engineering Co.

 Lapitan bought an ABC Diesel engine of 16hp for P3,735


o He bought it from General as the sub-dealer of Scandia in Cebu City
o Said engine was for running a rice and corn mill
 Lapitan was assured that:
o The stores of respondent have all the spare parts
o WITHIN 12 MONTHS, any part of the engine that is broken WILL BE REPLACED
 Cam Rocker arm part broke due to faulty material and workmanship and waited for a month
before it was replaced
 Six days after replacement, it broke again SO LAPITAN notified them of RESCISSION OF
CONTRACT
o Includes
 Rescission
 Reimbursement of price (P3,735)
 P4,000 as actual damages and P1,000 as atty’s fees
 And any moral and exemplary damages if there is
 Scandia answered and denied its liability
o MOVED for dismissal on the ground THAT TOTAL AMOUNT CLAIMED was ONLY P8,735
and therefore under jurisdiction of MTC
 CFI DISMISSED the action FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION
 Hence, Lapitan’s present appeal

whether the action is one the subject matter of which is not capable of pecuniary estimation,

RULING: To ascertain first the PRINCIPAL ACTION.

If sum of money is claimed, it is CAPABLE of PECUNIARY ESTIMATION. TF, MTC jurisdiction


BUT, if it is merely incidental, it is INCAPABLE of PECUNIARY ESTIMATION. TF, CFI jurisdiction

Actions for specific performance of contracts have been expressly pronounced to be


exclusively cognizable by courts of first instance

NO REASON TO TREAT RESCISSION AS DIFFERENT FROM SPEC. PERFORMANCE as


it is its counterpart

No award for damages may be had in an action for rescission without first conducting
an inquiry into matters which would justify the setting aside of a contract, in the same manner
that courts of first instance would have to make findings of fact and law in actions not capable of
pecuniary estimation expressly held to be so by this Court.

SC ruled that the SUBJECT MATTER OF ACTIONS FOR RESCISSION OF CONTRACTS ARE
NOT CAPABLE OF PECUNIARY ESTIMATION, and that the court below erred in declining to
entertain appellant's action for lack of jurisdiction.
EULALIA RUSSELL, PUPERTO TAUTHO, FRANCISCO TAUTHO, SUSANA T. REALES, APITACIO
TAUTHO, DANILO TAUTHO, JUDITHA PROS, GREGORIO TAUTHO, DEODITA T. JUDILLA,
AGRIPINO TAUTHO, FELIX TAUTHO, WILLIAM TAUTHO, AND MARILYN PERALES, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE AUGUSTINE A. VESTlL, ADRIANO TAGALOG, MARCELO TAUTHO, JUANITA
MENDOZA, DOMINGO BANTILAN, RAUL BATALUNA AND ARTEMIO CABATINGAN, respondent.

 Russel et. al. filed a complaint of “DECLARATION OF NULLITY AND PARTITION” against
private respondents WITH THE RTC
 Allegations:
o Petitioners as co-owners of a parcel of land in Liloan Cebu
o Land previously owned by Sps Casimero and Cesaria Tautho
o Upon their death, land was inherited by the heirs herein petitioners and respondents
o Land remained undivided BUT PETITIONERS DISCOVERED DEED OF
CONFIRMATION OF ORAL AGREEMENT OF PARTITION
 Said deed states RESPONDENTS DIVIDED IT TO THE EXCLUSION OF
THE PETITIONERS
 Respondents filed a MOTION TO DISMISS ON THE GROUND OF LACK OF
JURISDICTION OVER THE NATURE OF THE CASE
o Claiming that TOTAL ASSESSED VALUE is only P5,000 hence under MTC
 Petitioners replied that it is incapable of pecuniary estimation and hence under RTC
 Judge Vestil granted the motion to dismiss
 Hence, the appeal.

whether the Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction to entertain the case

RULING: YES. The complaint filed before the Regional Trial Court is doubtless ONE INCAPABLE
OF PECUNIARY ESTIMATION and therefore within the jurisdiction of said court.

The SUBJECT MATTER of the complaint in this case IS ANNULMENT OF A DOCUMENT


denominated as "DECLARATION OF HEIRS AND DEED OF CONFIRMATION OF PREVIOUS
ORAL PARTITION."

The main purpose of petitioners is to declare null and void the document in which
private respondents declared themselves as the only heirs of the late spouses Casimero Tautho and
Cesaria Tautho and divided his property among themselves to the exclusion of petitioners.

While the complaint also prays for the partition of the property, this is just incidental to
the main action.
Manuel Ruiz v J. M. Tuason & Co., Inc., et al.

 Ruiz filed an action BEFORE CFI OF MANILA to enjoin JM Tuason and Sheriff of QC from:
o executing a writ of execution against Sixto Cacho
 It turns out it is being enforced against him by ejecting him to the property in
question and demolishing the house thereat
o JM Tuason to execute to him(Ruiz) a deed of sale upon his payment
 And his partial payment of P855 to Florencio Deudor be considered
 Deudor filed a MOTION TO DISMISS on the ff. grounds:
o Venue is improperly laid
o No cause of action against Deudor
 If any, has prescribed
 CFI DISMISSED THE CASE
o Ground: VENUE IS IMPROPERLY LAID
 The property is IN QUEZON CITY
 The ACTION IS ONE AFFECTING REAL PROPERTY OR TITLE THERETO

 Hence, the present appeal with the facts herein:


o Deudor as a absolute owner of the land in Brgy Tatalon, QC
o For P4,800., a portion was sold to Navarro, JOSE DINGLASAN, and Bantug
 Dinglasan took possession thereof pending his payment of the balance
o HOWEVER, DEUDOR REFUSED TO RECEIVE PAYMENT because of a pending
case
 In the said case, there was a compromise agreement
 It includes that OWNER JM Tuason to continue with the contracts
made by DEUDORS upon the land including Dinglasan’s
 Partial payment already made to Deudor to be deducted to the
purchase price
o By virtue of the agreement, the SC RULED THAT A CONTRACTUAL RELATION
HAS EXISTED BETWEEN JM TUASON AND THE PURCHASERS
o Dinglasan transferred his to Sixto Cacho who then TRANSFERRED IT TO RUIZ

Whether it is a case for specific performance to compel JM Tuason and is THEN TRANSITORY

RULING: NO.

Although appellant's complaint is entitled to be one for specific performance,


yet the fact that:
1.) he asked that a deed of sale of a parcel of land situated in QC be issued in his favor and
2.)that a transfer certificate of title covering said land be issued to him shows that the
primary objective and nature of the action is to recover the parcel of land itself because to
execute in favor of appellant the conveyance requested there is need to make a finding that he is the
owner of the land which in the last analysis resolves itself into an issue of ownership.

The complaint having been filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila it is apparent that
venue is improperly laid. This is in accordance with the rule that IF AN ACTION NECESSARILY
INVOLVES A DETERMINATION OF AN INTEREST IN LAND, THE SUIT MUST BE BROUGHT IN
THE PLACE WHERE THE LAND IS SITUATED. The fact that an injunction is sought as an ancillary
to the principal action does not make the case transitory or personal.

THE PRIMARY OBJECT OF A SUIT FOR INJUCTION IS DETERMINATIVE OF THE VENUE


G.R. No. 116100 February 9, 1996

SPOUSES CRISTINO and BRIGIDA CUSTODIO and SPOUSES LITO and MARIA CRISTINA
SANTOS,petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, HEIRS OF PACIFICO C. MABASA and REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
PASIG, METRO MANILA, BRANCH 181, respondents.

FACTS:

Pacifico Mabasa filed for an easement of right of way against Sps. Custodio, Sps. Morato, and
Ma. Cristina Santos before the RTC of Pasig.

Mabasa died during the pendency of the case so surviving spouse Ofelia substituted him.
Mabasa’s acquired the property through a sale. On the left side are the Sps. Custodio and Santos while
on the right are the Moratos.

Access to P. Burgos street is either by approx. 1meter wide and is about 20meter in length if
from the left side (Custodios and Santos) or 3meters in width; it is about 26 meters. In passing thru said
passageway, a less than a meter wide path through the septic tank and with 5-6 meters in length, has to
be traversed.

However, tenants of Mabasa, one by one, vacated and Mabasa discovered Morato enclosed the
2 way while Santos fenced the 1st way and narrowed it.
nd

RTC granted the right of way by Custodio and Santos and to be reimbursed with P8,000.00. THE
HEIRS OF MABASA appealed and CLAIMS THEY SHOULD BE AWARDED DAMAGES. CA GRANTED
DAMAGES (65k actual, 30k moral, 10k exemplary) Hence, the appeal.

ISSUES: 1.) Whether the grant of easement is proper


2.) Whether award of damages is proper

RULING:

1.) YES. The petitioners never raised this issue when RTC decided its propriety and is BARRED from
questioning it. THEY FAILED TO APPEAR TO CA. THUS, cannot obtain affirmative relief.

The rule in this jurisdiction is that whenever an appeal is taken in a civil case, an appellee who
has not himself appealed may not obtain from the appellate court any affirmative relief other than
what was granted in the decision of the lower court.

2.) Award is IMPROPER . To warrant the recovery of damages, there must be both a right of action
for a legal wrong inflicted by the defendant, and damage resulting to the plaintiff therefrom.
Wrong without damage, or damage without wrong, does not constitute a cause of action, since
damages are merely part of the remedy allowed for the injury caused by a breach or wrong.
G.R. No. 75919 May 7, 1987

MANCHESTER DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, ET AL., petitioners,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, CITY LAND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, STEPHEN ROXAS,
ANDREW LUISON, GRACE LUISON and JOSE DE MAISIP, respondents.

FACTS:

Petitioners claim that the present case is an action for torts and damages and specific
performance with prayer for temporary restraining order.

The prayer is for the issuance of a writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction during the pendency of
the action against the defendants' announced forfeiture of the sum of P3 Million paid by the plaintiffs
for the property in question, to attach such property of defendants that maybe sufficient to satisfy any
judgment that maybe rendered, and after hearing, to order defendants to execute a contract of
purchase and sale of the subject property and annul defendants' illegal forfeiture of the money of
plaintiff, ordering defendants jointly and severally to pay plaintiff actual, compensatory and
exemplary damages as well as 25% of said amounts as maybe proved during the trial as attorney's
fees and declaring the tender of payment of the purchase price of plaintiff valid and producing the
effect of payment and to make the injunction permanent.

The amount of damages sought is not specified in the prayer although the body of the
complaint alleges the total amount of over P78 Million as damages suffered by plaintiff.

Thus, THEY CONTEND that in the payment of filing fee, the amount of damages to be
sought SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED and the case is no different from Magaspi case which is
said to be principally for recovery.

ISSUE: Whether the amount of damages included in the body of Manchester’s complaint should be
considered in the value of the filing fee

RULING: YES. In the Magaspi case, the action was considered not only one for recovery of
ownership but also for damages, so that the filing fee for the damages should be the basis of
assessment. Although the payment of the docketing fee of P60.00 was found to be insufficient,
nevertheless, it was held that since the payment was the result of an "honest difference of opinion as
to the correct amount to be paid as docket fee" the court "had acquired jurisdiction over the case and
the proceedings thereafter had were proper and regular."

In the present case no such honest difference of opinion was possible as the allegations of the
complaint, the designation and the prayer show clearly that it is an action for damages and specific
performance. The docketing fee should be assessed by considering the amount of damages as alleged in
the original complaint. THUS, THE RULE IS THAT A CASE IS DEEMED FILED ONLY UPON PAYMENT OF THE
DOCKET FEE REGARDLESS OF THE ACTUAL DATE OF THE FILING IN COURT.
The Court frowns at the practice of counsel who filed the original complaint in this case of
omitting any specification of the amount of damages in the prayer although the amount of over P78
million is alleged in the body of the complaint.

This is clearly intended for no other purpose than to evade the payment of the correct filing
fees if not to mislead the docket clerk in the assessment of the filing fee. This fraudulent practice
was compounded when, even as this Court had taken cognizance of the anomaly and ordered an
investigation, petitioner through another counsel filed an amended complaint, deleting all mention of
the amount of damages being asked for in the body of the complaint. It was only when in obedience
to the order of this Court of October 18, 1985, the trial court directed that the amount of damages be
specified in the amended complaint, that petitioners' counsel wrote the damages sought in the much
reduced amount of P10,000,000.00 in the body of the complaint but not in the prayer thereof. The
design to avoid payment of the required docket fee is obvious.

To put a stop to this irregularity, henceforth all complaints, petitions, answers and other similar
pleadings should specify the amount of damages being prayed for not only in the body of the
pleading but also in the prayer, and said damages shall be considered in the assessment of the filing
fees in any case. Any pleading that fails to comply with this requirement shall not bib accepted nor
admitted, or shall otherwise be expunged from the record.

The Court acquires jurisdiction over any case only upon the payment of the prescribed docket fee.
An amendment of the complaint or similar pleading will not thereby vest jurisdiction in the Court,
much less the payment of the docket fee based on the amounts sought in the amended pleading.
The ruling in the Magaspi case in so far as it is inconsistent with this pronouncement is overturned and
reversed.
G.R. Nos. 79937-38 February 13, 1989

SUN INSURANCE OFFICE, LTD., (SIOL), E.B. PHILIPPS and D.J. WARBY, petitioners,
vs.
HON. MAXIMIANO C. ASUNCION, Presiding Judge, Branch 104, Regional Trial Court, Quezon
City and MANUEL CHUA UY PO TIONG, respondents.

FACTS: SIOL filed a complaint for consignation of a premium refund on a fire insurance policy
against respondent Manuel in the RTC of Makati.

Respondent was declared in default for not filing an answer. However, he filed a complaint
for refund of premiums against SIOL in RTC of QC. He did not specified the damages but from the
body of the complaint, it may be inferred to be of P50M.

Only P210 was paid by Manuel as docket fees. That was what the petitioners were raising. It
is because Judge Castro disregarded the amount claimed. Upon order of the SC and a resolution
thereof, Lower Court judges were ordered to reassess the docket fees (this case was included) and
in case of deficiency, to pay it. Also included was FOR ALL LITIGANTS TO SPECIFY THEIR
CLAIMS IN THEIR COMPLAINTS.

The case was then reassigned to Judge Asuncion On January 23, 1986, Respondent filed a
"Compliance" and a "Re-Amended Complaint" stating therein a claim of "not less than Pl0,000,000.
00 as actual compensatory damages" in the prayer. In the body of the said second amended
complaint however, private respondent alleges actual and compensatory damages and attorney's
fees in the total amount of about P44,601,623.70.

Judge Asuncion admitted the second complaint and upon the reassessment by the Clerk of
Court based on private respondent's claim of "not less than P10,000,000.00 as actual and
compensatory damages" amounted to P39,786.00 as docket fee.

Hence, petitioner appealed to CA. but, respondent filed a supplemental complaint with an
additional claim of P20M. and paid the additional docket fee of P80,000. CA ordered reassessment
on the basis of P25M only

ISSUE: whether a court acquires jurisdiction over a case when the correct and proper docket fee
has not been paid.

RULING: NO. Manchester ruling may be applied retroactively since it is a procedural law. Since the
ruling in that case provided that court acquires jurisdiction only upon payment of prescribed docket
fee, then it should be followed.

The present case, as above discussed, is among the several cases of under-assessment of docket
fee which were investigated by this Court together with Manchester. The facts and circumstances of
this case are similar to Manchester. In the body of the original complaint, the total amount of
damages sought amounted to about P50 Million. In the prayer, the amount of damages asked for
was not stated. The action was for the refund of the premium and the issuance of the writ of
preliminary attachment with damages. The amount of only P210.00 was paid for the docket fee. On
January 23, 1986, private respondent filed an amended complaint wherein in the prayer it is asked
that he be awarded no less than P10,000,000.00 as actual and exemplary damages but in the body
of the complaint the amount of his pecuniary claim is approximately P44,601,623.70. Said amended
complaint was admitted and the private respondent was reassessed the additional docket fee of
P39,786.00 based on his prayer of not less than P10,000,000.00 in damages, which he paid.

The principle in Manchester could very well be applied in the present case. The pattern and the
intent to defraud the government of the docket fee due it is obvious not only in the filing of the
original complaint but also in the filing of the second amended complaint.

However, in Manchester, petitioner did not pay any additional docket fee until] the case was decided
by this Court on May 7, 1987. Thus, in Manchester, due to the fraud committed on the government,
this Court held that the court a quo did not acquire jurisdiction over the case and that the amended
complaint could not have been admitted inasmuch as the original complaint was null and void.

In the present case, a more liberal interpretation of the rules is called for considering that, unlike
Manchester, private respondent demonstrated his willingness to abide by the rules by paying the
additional docket fees as required. The promulgation of the decision in Manchester must have had
that sobering influence on private respondent who thus paid the additional docket fee as ordered by
the respondent court. It triggered his change of stance by manifesting his willingness to pay such
additional docket fee as may be ordered.

Thus, the Court rules as follows:

1. It is not simply the filing of the complaint or appropriate initiatory pleading, but the payment of
the prescribed docket fee, that vests a trial court with jurisdiction over the subject matter or
nature of the action. Where the filing of the initiatory pleading is not accompanied by
payment of the docket fee, the court may allow payment of the fee within a reasonable time
but in no case beyond the applicable prescriptive or reglementary period.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The Clerk of Court of the court a quo is
hereby instructed to reassess and determine the additional filing fee that should be paid by private
respondent considering the total amount of the claim sought in the original complaint and the
supplemental complaint as may be gleaned from the allegations and the prayer thereof and to
require private respondent to pay the deficiency, if any, without pronouncement as to costs.
A.M. No. 88-1-646-0 March 3, 1988

RE: REQUEST OF THE PLAINTIFFS, HEIRS OF THE PASSENGERS OF THE DOÑA PAZ TO
SET ASIDE THE ORDER DATED JANUARY 4, 1988 OF JUDGE B.D. CHINGCUANGCO.

FACTS:

A complaint for damages amounting to more than P1.5B was filed in the name of heirs or
relatives of the passengers of M/V Dona Paz as it sank when it collided with another vessel.

It was characterized as a “CLASS SUIT” prosecuted by 27 plaintiffs thereby representing around


4,000 persons connected. It is claimed to be sufficiently numerous in representation to protect their
rights and has common or general interest which is recovery of damages from the death of the vessel’s
passengers.

The complaint prayed that there be compensation of atleast P200k-P400k for every
victim/passenger. Along with it, plaintiffs filed a "MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE CASE AS PAUPER
LITIGANT." They aver that majority of them are poor and have no sufficient means to finance the filing
of the case and that the case was of national concern.

Executive Judge Chingcuangco GRANTED THE MOTION ONLY FOR 7 PLAINTIFFS THEREIN. Thus,
they request that they all be allowed to be as pauper litigant since their claim which amounted to P1.2B
would cost them P6M as filing fee. Judge then let that matter be solved by the judge where the case is
to be raffled.

On Sulpicio Lines’ defense, they pointed out that only 1,493 passengers were there. They also
point out if 27 plaintiffs is sufficiently numerous to represent the whole class.

ISSUE: Whether the case is a class suit

RULING: No. , it is not the rule governing class suits under Section 12, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court that in
truth is involved in the proceedings at bar, but that concerning permissive joinder of parties in Section
6 of the same Rule 3.

If there are many persons who have distinct, separate rights against the same party or group
of parties, but those rights arise from the same transaction or series of transactions and there are
common questions of fact or law resulting therefrom, the former may join as plaintiffs in one action
against the same defendant. This is authorized by the above mentioned joinder-of- parties rule in
Section 6 of Rule 3.

While in class suit is that (a) the subject matter in controversy is of common or general
interest to many persons, and (b) those persons are so numerous as to make it impracticable to
bring them all before the court.
It is true that in both juridical situations, similar essential factors exist i.e., the same transaction or
series of transactions is involved; and common questions of fact or law are at issue. WHAT MAKES
THE SITUATION A PROPER CASE FOR A CLASS SUIT IS THE CIRCUMSTANCE THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE
RIGHT OR CAUSE OF ACTION PERTAINING OR BELONGING IN COMMON TO MANY PERSONS, NOT
SEPARATELY OR SEVERALLY TO DISTINCT INDIVIDUALS.

The object of class suit is to obtain relief for or against numerous persons as a group or as
an integral entity, and not as separate, distinct individuals whose rights or liabilities are separate
from and independent of those affecting the others.

The case at bar not being a proper one for a class suit, it follows that the action may not be
maintained by a representative few in behalf of all the others. Be all this as it may, as regards of
determining the original jurisdiction over it, and the correlative matter of the amount of filing fees to
be paid, it is immaterial whether the rule applied be that on class suits or permissive joinder of
parties. For in either case, it is THE TOTALITY OF THE AMOUNTS CLAIMED BY OR AGAINST
THE PARTIES THAT DETERMINES JURISDICTION, exclusive only of interest and costs.

The rule on the matter is clear. A PARTY MAY BE ALLOWED TO LITIGATE


IN FORMA PAUPER IS ONLY. . UPON A PROPER SHOWING THAT HE HAS NO MEANS
TO THAT EFFECT by affidavits, certificate of the corresponding provincial, city or municipal
treasurer, or otherwise.
G.R. No. L-63559 May 30, 1986

NEWSWEEK, INC., petitioner,


vs.
THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, and NATIONAL FEDERATION OF SUGARCANE
PLANTERS INC., BINALBAGAN-ISABELA PLANTERS ASSOCIATION, INC., ASOCIACION DE
AGRICULTORES DE LA CARLOTA, LA CASTELLANA y PONTEVEDRA, INC., DONEDCO
PLANTERS ASSOCIATION INC., ARMANDO GUSTILO, ENRIQUE ROJAS, ALFREDO
MONTELIBANO, JR., PABLO SOLA, JOSE MONTALVO, VICENTE GUSTILO, JOSEPH
MARANON, ROBERTO CUENCA, JOSE SICANGCO, FLORENCIO ALONSO, MIGUEL
GATUSLAO, PEDRO YULO, MARINO RUBIN and BENJAMIN BAUTISTA, respondents.

Facts:

Newsweek is a foreing corporation licensed to do business in the Philippines. It appears that


Newsweek published an article titled ‘An Island of Fear’.

Private respondents who are incorporated associations of sugarcane planters in Negros


Occidental claims to have 8,500 members and several individual sugarcane planters FILED A CASE
OF LIBEL AGAINST NEWSWEEK AND TWO OF ITS REPORTERS

They alleged that the article portrayed sugarcane planters as big landowners who not only
exploited the impoverished and underpaid sugarcane workers and even brutalized and killed them
with imprunity. They claimed that the said portrayal showed a deliberate and malicious use of
falsehood, slanted presentation and/or misrepresentation of facts intended to put them (sugarcane
planters) in bad light, expose them to public ridicule, discredit and humiliation here in the Philippines
and abroad, and make them objects of hatred, contempt and hostility of their agricultural workers
and of the public in general.

Newsweek filed a motion to dismiss. One of the grounds was that the complaint failed to
state a cause of action and it is not actionable. RTC and CA denied the motion to dismiss. Hence the
appeal

ISSUE: Whether the complaint has a cause of action

HELD: No. DEFAMATORY REMARKS DIRECTED AT A CLASS OR GROUP OF PERSONS ARE


NOT ACTIONABLE BY INDIVIDUALS UNLESS THE STATEMENTS ARE SWEEPING AS TO
APPLY TO EVERY INDIVIDUAL OR SUFFICIENTLY SPECIFIC TO POINT OUT EVERY
INDIVIDUAL SO THAT ONE CAN BRING ACTION SEPARATELY.

In this case, the complaint failed to alleged and specify that the remarks are totally pointed
against them. In contrast, it could only be directed on malicious sugarcane planters in general and
not specifically any sugarcane planters especially not to those who actually care about their
sugarcane workers.
The specific allegation in the complaint, to the effect that the article attributed to the
sugarcane planters the deaths and brutalization of sugarcane workers, is not borne out by a perusal
of the actual text.

The case at bar is not a class suit. It is not a case where one or more may sue for the benefit
of all. This is a case where each of the plaintiffs has a separate and distinct reputation in the
community. THEY DO NOT HAVE A COMMON OR GENERAL INTEREST IN THE SUBJECT
MATTER OF THE CONTROVERSY.

OPOSA v FACTORAN

FACTS:

A case was filed before RTC of National Capital Judicial Region. The principal plaintiffs
therein are ALL MINORS DULY REPRESENTED BY THEIR RESPECTIVE PARENTS in an action
geared for the protection of our environment and natural resources.

THE COMPLAINT WAS INSTITUTED AS TAXPAYERS’ class suit and alleges that the
plaintiffs "are all citizens of the Republic of the Philippines, taxpayers, and entitled to the full benefit,
use and enjoyment of the natural resource treasure that is the country's virgin tropical forests."

It prays for cancellation of all timber licensing agreements and to cease from entertaining
applications and renewals of said agreements. The rights invoked were, among others, "protect and
advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and
harmony of nature." and "conserve and promote the nation's cultural heritage and resources (sic)"

DENR Secretary Factoran filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that there is no cause of
action and that the matter is a political question not within the scope of judicial power.

RTC judge granted the motion to dismiss and affirmed Factoran’s contentions and added
that granting the complaint would violate non-impairment of contracts. Hence, the appeal.

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 Order (E.O.) No. 192 creating
the DENR, Section 3 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1151 (Philippine Environmental Policy),
Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Constitution recognizing the right of the people to a balanced and
healthful ecology, the concept of generational genocide in Criminal Law and the concept of man's
inalienable right to self-preservation and self-perpetuation embodied in natural law.

ISSUE: Whether the complaint sufficiently states a cause of action


HELD: YES. Petitioners minors assert that they represent their generation as well as generations yet
unborn. The Court find no difficulty in ruling that they can, for themselves, for others of their
generation and for the succeeding generations, file a class suit. It can only be based on the concept
of intergenerational responsibility insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is
concerned. Every generation has a responsibility to the next to preserve that rhythm and harmony
for the full enjoyment of a balanced and healthful ecology.

The complaint focuses on one specific fundamental legal right — the right to a balanced 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 Constitution.

Such a right belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less
than self-preservation and self-perpetuation — aptly and fittingly stressed by the petitioners — the
advancement of which may even be said to predate all governments and constitutions. As a matter
of fact, these basic rights need not even be written in the Constitution for they are assumed to exist
from the inception of humankind.

Thus, the right of the petitioners (and all those they represent) to a balanced and healthful
ecology is as clear as the DENR's duty — under its mandate and by virtue of its powers and
functions under E.O. No. 192 and the Administrative Code of 1987 — to protect and advance the
said right.

A DENIAL OR VIOLATION OF THAT RIGHT BY THE OTHER WHO HAS THE


CORRELATIVE DUTY OR OBLIGATION TO RESPECT OR PROTECT THE SAME GIVES RISE
TO A CAUSE OF ACTION

As for non-impairment of contracts issue, it must yield to police power especially when what
is granted by the contract (TLA) is not a right but is only a privilege or license to cut trees.