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Republic of the Philippines

THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL VELASCO, JR.,

SUPREME COURT

GOVERNMENT, NACHURA,

Manila

Petitioners, REYES,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, and

EN BANC

- versus - BRION, JJ.


CONCERNED RESIDENTS OF
MANILA BAY, represented and

METROPOLITAN MANILA G.R. Nos. 171947-48

joined by DIVINA V. ILAS,

DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY,

SABINIANO ALBARRACIN,

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT

MANUEL SANTOS, JR., DINAH

AND NATURAL RESOURCES, Present:

DELA PEA, PAUL DENNIS

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION,

QUINTERO, MA. VICTORIA

CULTURE AND SPORTS,[1] PUNO, C.J.,

LLENOS, DONNA CALOZA,

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, QUISUMBING,

FATIMA QUITAIN, VENICE

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, YNARES-SANTIAGO,

SEGARRA, FRITZIE TANGKIA,

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC CARPIO,

SARAH JOELLE LINTAG,

WORKS AND HIGHWAYS, AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,

HANNIBAL AUGUSTUS BOBIS,

DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND CORONA,

FELIMON SANTIAGUEL, and Promulgated:

MANAGEMENT, PHILIPPINE CARPIO MORALES,

JAIME AGUSTIN R. OPOSA,

COAST GUARD, PHILIPPINE AZCUNA,

Respondents. December 18, 2008

NATIONAL POLICE MARITIME TINGA,

x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

GROUP, and DEPARTMENT OF CHICO-NAZARIO,

DECISION

VELASCO, JR., J.:

The need to address environmental pollution, as a cause of climate change, has of


late gained the attention of the international community. Media have finally trained
their sights on the ill effects of pollution, the destruction of forests and other critical
habitats, oil spills, and the unabated improper disposal of garbage. And rightly so, for
the magnitude of environmental destruction is now on a scale few ever foresaw and
the wound no longer simply heals by itself.[2] But amidst hard evidence and clear
signs of a climate crisis that need bold action, the voice of cynicism, naysayers, and
procrastinators can still be heard.

This case turns on government agencies and their officers who, by the nature of their
respective offices or by direct statutory command, are tasked to protect and preserve,
at the first instance, our internal waters, rivers, shores, and seas polluted by human
activities. To most of these agencies and their official complement, the pollution
menace does not seem to carry the high national priority it deserves, if their track
records are to be the norm. Their cavalier attitude towards solving, if not mitigating,
the environmental pollution problem, is a sad commentary on bureaucratic efficiency
and commitment.

At the core of the case is the Manila Bay, a place with a proud historic past, once
brimming with marine life and, for so many decades in the past, a spot for different
contact recreation activities, but now a dirty and slowly dying expanse mainly
because of the abject official indifference of people and institutions that could have
otherwise made a difference.

This case started when, on January 29, 1999, respondents Concerned Residents of
Manila Bay filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Imus, Cavite
against several government agencies, among them the petitioners, for the cleanup,
rehabilitation, and protection of the Manila Bay. Raffled to Branch 20 and docketed
as Civil Case No. 1851-99 of the RTC, the complaint alleged that the water quality of
the Manila Bay had fallen way below the allowable standards set by law, specifically
Presidential Decree No. (PD) 1152 or the Philippine Environment Code. This
environmental aberration, the complaint stated, stemmed from:

x x x [The] reckless, wholesale, accumulated and ongoing acts of omission or


commission [of the defendants] resulting in the clear and present danger to public
health and in the depletion and contamination of the marine life of Manila Bay, [for
which reason] ALL defendants must be held jointly and/or solidarily liable and be
collectively ordered to clean up Manila Bay and to restore its water quality to class B
waters fit for swimming, skin-diving, and other forms of contact recreation.[3]

In their individual causes of action, respondents alleged that the continued neglect of
petitioners in abating the pollution of the Manila Bay constitutes a violation of,
among others:

(1)

Respondents constitutional right to life, health, and a balanced ecology;

(2)

The Environment Code (PD 1152);

(3)

The Pollution Control Law (PD 984);

(4)

The Water Code (PD 1067);

(5)

The Sanitation Code (PD 856);

(6)

The Illegal Disposal of Wastes Decree (PD 825);

(7)

The Marine Pollution Law (PD 979);

(8)

Executive Order No. 192;

(9)

The Toxic and Hazardous Wastes Law (Republic Act No. 6969);

(10)

Civil Code provisions on nuisance and human relations;

(11)

The Trust Doctrine and the Principle of Guardianship; and

(12)

International Law

Inter alia, respondents, as plaintiffs a quo, prayed that petitioners be ordered to clean
the Manila Bay and submit to the RTC a concerted concrete plan of action for the
purpose.

On September 13, 2002, the RTC rendered a Decision[5] in favor of respondents.


The dispositive portion reads:

WHEREFORE, finding merit in the complaint, judgment is hereby rendered ordering


the abovenamed defendant-government agencies, jointly and solidarily, to clean up
and rehabilitate Manila Bay and restore its waters to SB classification to make it fit
for swimming, skin-diving and other forms of contact recreation. To attain this,
defendant-agencies, with defendant DENR as the lead agency, are directed, within
six (6) months from receipt hereof, to act and perform their respective duties by
devising a consolidated, coordinated and concerted scheme of action for the
rehabilitation and restoration of the bay.
In particular:

The trial of the case started off with a hearing at the Manila Yacht Club followed by
an ocular inspection of the Manila Bay. Renato T. Cruz, the Chief of the Water
Quality Management Section, Environmental Management Bureau, Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), testifying for petitioners, stated that
water samples collected from different beaches around the Manila Bay showed that
the amount of fecal coliform content ranged from 50,000 to 80,000 most probable
number (MPN)/ml when what DENR Administrative Order No. 34-90 prescribed as
a safe level for bathing and other forms of contact recreational activities, or the SB
level, is one not exceeding 200 MPN/100 ml.[4]

Rebecca de Vera, for Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and
in behalf of other petitioners, testified about the MWSS efforts to reduce pollution
along the Manila Bay through the Manila Second Sewerage Project. For its part, the
Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) presented, as part of its evidence, its memorandum
circulars on the study being conducted on ship-generated waste treatment and
disposal, and its Linis Dagat (Clean the Ocean) project for the cleaning of wastes
accumulated or washed to shore.

The RTC Ordered Petitioners to Clean Up and Rehabilitate Manila Bay

Defendant MWSS is directed to install, operate and maintain adequate [sewerage]


treatment facilities in strategic places under its jurisdiction and increase their
capacities.

Defendant LWUA, to see to it that the water districts under its wings, provide,
construct and operate sewage facilities for the proper disposal of waste.

Defendant DENR, which is the lead agency in cleaning up Manila Bay, to install,
operate and maintain waste facilities to rid the bay of toxic and hazardous
substances.

Defendant PPA, to prevent and also to treat the discharge not only of ship-generated
wastes but also of other solid and liquid wastes from docking vessels that contribute
to the pollution of the bay.

Defendant MMDA, to establish, operate and maintain an adequate and appropriate


sanitary landfill and/or adequate solid waste and liquid disposal as well as other
alternative garbage disposal system such as re-use or recycling of wastes.

No pronouncement as to damages and costs.

SO ORDERED.
Defendant DA, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, to revitalize
the marine life in Manila Bay and restock its waters with indigenous fish and other
aquatic animals.

The MWSS, Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), and PPA filed before the
Court of Appeals (CA) individual Notices of Appeal which were eventually
consolidated and docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 76528.

Defendant DBM, to provide and set aside an adequate budget solely for the purpose
of cleaning up and rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

On the other hand, the DENR, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH),
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine Coast Guard
(PCG), Philippine National Police (PNP) Maritime Group, and five other executive
departments and agencies filed directly with this Court a petition for review under
Rule 45. The Court, in a Resolution of December 9, 2002, sent the said petition to the
CA for consolidation with the consolidated appeals of MWSS, LWUA, and PPA,
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 74944.

Defendant DPWH, to remove and demolish structures and other nuisances that
obstruct the free flow of waters to the bay. These nuisances discharge solid and liquid
wastes which eventually end up in Manila Bay. As the construction and engineering
arm of the government, DPWH is ordered to actively participate in removing debris,
such as carcass of sunken vessels, and other non-biodegradable garbage in the bay.

Defendant DOH, to closely supervise and monitor the operations of septic and sludge
companies and require them to have proper facilities for the treatment and disposal
of fecal sludge and sewage coming from septic tanks.

Petitioners, before the CA, were one in arguing in the main that the pertinent
provisions of the Environment Code (PD 1152) relate only to the cleaning of specific
pollution incidents and do not cover cleaning in general. And apart from raising
concerns about the lack of funds appropriated for cleaning purposes, petitioners also
asserted that the cleaning of the Manila Bay is not a ministerial act which can be
compelled by mandamus.

Defendant DECS, to inculcate in the minds and hearts of the people through
education the importance of preserving and protecting the environment.
The CA Sustained the RTC
Defendant Philippine Coast Guard and the PNP Maritime Group, to protect at all
costs the Manila Bay from all forms of illegal fishing.

By a Decision[6] of September 28, 2005, the CA denied petitioners appeal and


affirmed the Decision of the RTC in toto, stressing that the trial courts decision did
not require petitioners to do tasks outside of their usual basic functions under
existing laws.[7]

Petitioners are now before this Court praying for the allowance of their Rule 45
petition on the following ground and supporting arguments:
THE [CA] DECIDED A QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE NOT HERETOFORE
PASSED UPON BY THE HONORABLE COURT, I.E., IT AFFIRMED THE
TRIAL COURTS DECISION DECLARING THAT SECTION 20 OF [PD] 1152
REQUIRES CONCERNED GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO REMOVE ALL
POLLUTANTS SPILLED AND DISCHARGED IN THE WATER SUCH AS
FECAL COLIFORMS.

On August 12, 2008, the Court conducted and heard the parties on oral arguments.

Our Ruling

We shall first dwell on the propriety of the issuance of mandamus under the
premises.

ARGUMENTS
The Cleaning or Rehabilitation of Manila Bay
I
[SECTIONS] 17 AND 20 OF [PD] 1152 RELATE ONLY TO THE CLEANING OF
SPECIFIC POLLUTION INCIDENTS AND [DO] NOT COVER CLEANING IN
GENERAL

II
THE CLEANING OR REHABILITATION OF THE MANILA BAY IS NOT A
MINISTERIAL ACT OF PETITIONERS THAT CAN BE COMPELLED BY
MANDAMUS.

The issues before us are two-fold. First, do Sections 17 and 20 of PD 1152 under the
headings, Upgrading of Water Quality and Clean-up Operations, envisage a cleanup
in general or are they limited only to the cleanup of specific pollution incidents? And
second, can petitioners be compelled by mandamus to clean up and rehabilitate the
Manila Bay?

Can be Compelled by Mandamus

Generally, the writ of mandamus lies to require the execution of a ministerial duty.[8]
A ministerial duty is one that requires neither the exercise of official discretion nor
judgment.[9] It connotes an act in which nothing is left to the discretion of the person
executing it. It is a simple, definite duty arising under conditions admitted or proved
to exist and imposed by law.[10] Mandamus is available to compel action, when
refused, on matters involving discretion, but not to direct the exercise of judgment or
discretion one way or the other.

Petitioners maintain that the MMDAs duty to take measures and maintain adequate
solid waste and liquid disposal systems necessarily involves policy evaluation and
the exercise of judgment on the part of the agency concerned. They argue that the
MMDA, in carrying out its mandate, has to make decisions, including choosing
where a landfill should be located by undertaking feasibility studies and cost
estimates, all of which entail the exercise of discretion.

Respondents, on the other hand, counter that the statutory command is clear and that
petitioners duty to comply with and act according to the clear mandate of the law
does not require the exercise of discretion. According to respondents, petitioners, the
MMDA in particular, are without discretion, for example, to choose which bodies of
water they are to clean up, or which discharge or spill they are to contain. By the
same token, respondents maintain that petitioners are bereft of discretion on whether
or not to alleviate the problem of solid and liquid waste disposal; in other words, it is
the MMDAs ministerial duty to attend to such services.

We agree with respondents.

First off, we wish to state that petitioners obligation to perform their duties as
defined by law, on one hand, and how they are to carry out such duties, on the other,
are two different concepts. While the implementation of the MMDAs mandated tasks
may entail a decision-making process, the enforcement of the law or the very act of
doing what the law exacts to be done is ministerial in nature and may be compelled
by mandamus. We said so in Social Justice Society v. Atienza[11] in which the Court
directed the City of Manila to enforce, as a matter of ministerial duty, its Ordinance
No. 8027 directing the three big local oil players to cease and desist from operating
their business in the so-called Pandacan Terminals within six months from the
effectivity of the ordinance. But to illustrate with respect to the instant case, the
MMDAs duty to put up an adequate and appropriate sanitary landfill and solid waste
and liquid disposal as well as other alternative garbage disposal systems is
ministerial, its duty being a statutory imposition. The MMDAs duty in this regard is
spelled out in Sec. 3(c) of Republic Act No. (RA) 7924 creating the MMDA. This
section defines and delineates the scope of the MMDAs waste disposal services to
include:

Solid waste disposal and management which include formulation and


implementation of policies, standards, programs and projects for proper and sanitary
waste disposal. It shall likewise include the establishment and operation of sanitary
land fill and related facilities and the implementation of other alternative programs
intended to reduce, reuse and recycle solid waste. (Emphasis added.)

The MMDA is duty-bound to comply with Sec. 41 of the Ecological Solid Waste
Management Act (RA 9003) which prescribes the minimum criteria for the
establishment of sanitary landfills and Sec. 42 which provides the minimum
operating requirements that each site operator shall maintain in the operation of a
sanitary landfill. Complementing Sec. 41 are Secs. 36 and 37 of RA 9003,[12]
enjoining the MMDA and local government units, among others, after the effectivity
of the law on February 15, 2001, from using and operating open dumps for solid
waste and disallowing, five years after such effectivity, the use of controlled dumps.

The MMDAs duty in the area of solid waste disposal, as may be noted, is set forth
not only in the Environment Code (PD 1152) and RA 9003, but in its charter as well.
This duty of putting up a proper waste disposal system cannot be characterized as
discretionary, for, as earlier stated, discretion presupposes the power or right given
by law to public functionaries to act officially according to their judgment or
conscience.[13] A discretionary duty is one that allows a person to exercise judgment
and choose to perform or not to perform.[14] Any suggestion that the MMDA has the
option whether or not to perform its solid waste disposal-related duties ought to be
dismissed for want of legal basis.

A perusal of other petitioners respective charters or like enabling statutes and


pertinent laws would yield this conclusion: these government agencies are enjoined,
as a matter of statutory obligation, to perform certain functions relating directly or
indirectly to the cleanup, rehabilitation, protection, and preservation of the Manila
Bay. They are precluded from choosing not to perform these duties. Consider:

(1) The DENR, under Executive Order No. (EO) 192,[15] is the primary agency
responsible for the conservation, management, development, and proper use of the
countrys environment and natural resources. Sec. 19 of the Philippine Clean Water
Act of 2004 (RA 9275), on the other hand, designates the DENR as the primary
government agency responsible for its enforcement and implementation, more

particularly over all aspects of water quality management. On water pollution, the
DENR, under the Acts Sec. 19(k), exercises jurisdiction over all aspects of water
pollution, determine[s] its location, magnitude, extent, severity, causes and effects
and other pertinent information on pollution, and [takes] measures, using available
methods and technologies, to prevent and abate such pollution.
The DENR, under RA 9275, is also tasked to prepare a National Water Quality Status
Report, an Integrated Water Quality Management Framework, and a 10-year Water
Quality Management Area Action Plan which is nationwide in scope covering the
Manila Bay and adjoining areas. Sec. 19 of RA 9275 provides:

Sec. 19 Lead Agency.The [DENR] shall be the primary government agency


responsible for the implementation and enforcement of this Act x x x unless
otherwise provided herein. As such, it shall have the following functions, powers and
responsibilities:
a) Prepare a National Water Quality Status report within twenty-four (24) months
from the effectivity of this Act: Provided, That the Department shall thereafter
review or revise and publish annually, or as the need arises, said report;

b)
Prepare an Integrated Water Quality Management Framework within twelve
(12) months following the completion of the status report;

c) Prepare a ten (10) year Water Quality Management Area Action Plan within 12
months following the completion of the framework for each designated water
management area. Such action plan shall be reviewed by the water quality
management area governing board every five (5) years or as need arises.

The DENR has prepared the status report for the period 2001 to 2005 and is in the
process of completing the preparation of the Integrated Water Quality Management
Framework.[16] Within twelve (12) months thereafter, it has to submit a final Water

Quality Management Area Action Plan.[17] Again, like the MMDA, the DENR
should be made to accomplish the tasks assigned to it under RA 9275.
Parenthetically, during the oral arguments, the DENR Secretary manifested that the
DENR, with the assistance of and in partnership with various government agencies
and non-government organizations, has completed, as of December 2005, the final
draft of a comprehensive action plan with estimated budget and time frame,
denominated as Operation Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy, for the
rehabilitation, restoration, and rehabilitation of the Manila Bay.

The completion of the said action plan and even the implementation of some of its
phases should more than ever prod the concerned agencies to fast track what are
assigned them under existing laws.

(2) The MWSS, under Sec. 3 of RA 6234,[18] is vested with jurisdiction,


supervision, and control over all waterworks and sewerage systems in the territory
comprising what is now the cities of Metro Manila and several towns of the
provinces of Rizal and Cavite, and charged with the duty:
(g) To construct, maintain, and operate such sanitary sewerages as may be necessary
for the proper sanitation and other uses of the cities and towns comprising the
System; x x x

(3) The LWUA under PD 198 has the power of supervision and control over local
water districts. It can prescribe the minimum standards and regulations for the
operations of these districts and shall monitor and evaluate local water standards.
The LWUA can direct these districts to construct, operate, and furnish facilities and
services for the collection, treatment, and disposal of sewerage, waste, and storm
water. Additionally, under RA 9275, the LWUA, as attached agency of the DPWH, is
tasked with providing sewerage and sanitation facilities, inclusive of the setting up of
efficient and safe collection, treatment, and sewage disposal system in the different
parts of the country.[19] In relation to the instant petition, the LWUA is mandated to

provide sewerage and sanitation facilities in Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga,


and Bataan to prevent pollution in the Manila Bay.
(4) The Department of Agriculture (DA), pursuant to the Administrative Code of
1987 (EO 292),[20] is designated as the agency tasked to promulgate and enforce all
laws and issuances respecting the conservation and proper utilization of agricultural
and fishery resources. Furthermore, the DA, under the Philippine Fisheries Code of
1998 (RA 8550), is, in coordination with local government units (LGUs) and other
concerned sectors, in charge of establishing a monitoring, control, and surveillance
system to ensure that fisheries and aquatic resources in Philippine waters are
judiciously utilized and managed on a sustainable basis.[21] Likewise under RA
9275, the DA is charged with coordinating with the PCG and DENR for the
enforcement of water quality standards in marine waters.[22] More specifically, its
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) under Sec. 22(c) of RA 9275
shall primarily be responsible for the prevention and control of water pollution for
the development, management, and conservation of the fisheries and aquatic
resources.

(5) The DPWH, as the engineering and construction arm of the national government,
is tasked under EO 292[23] to provide integrated planning, design, and construction
services for, among others, flood control and water resource development systems in
accordance with national development objectives and approved government plans
and specifications.

In Metro Manila, however, the MMDA is authorized by Sec. 3(d), RA 7924 to


perform metro-wide services relating to flood control and sewerage management
which include the formulation and implementation of policies, standards, programs
and projects for an integrated flood control, drainage and sewerage system.

On July 9, 2002, a Memorandum of Agreement was entered into between the DPWH
and MMDA, whereby MMDA was made the agency primarily responsible for flood
control in Metro Manila. For the rest of the country, DPWH shall remain as the
implementing agency for flood control services. The mandate of the MMDA and
DPWH on flood control and drainage services shall include the removal of

structures, constructions, and encroachments built along rivers, waterways, and


esteros (drainages) in violation of RA 7279, PD 1067, and other pertinent laws.

(6) The PCG, in accordance with Sec. 5(p) of PD 601, or the Revised Coast Guard
Law of 1974, and Sec. 6 of PD 979,[24] or the Marine Pollution Decree of 1976,
shall have the primary responsibility of enforcing laws, rules, and regulations
governing marine pollution within the territorial waters of the Philippines. It shall
promulgate its own rules and regulations in accordance with the national rules and
policies set by the National Pollution Control Commission upon consultation with
the latter for the effective implementation and enforcement of PD 979. It shall, under
Sec. 4 of the law, apprehend violators who:

a. discharge, dump x x x harmful substances from or out of any ship, vessel, barge,
or any other floating craft, or other man-made structures at sea, by any method,
means or manner, into or upon the territorial and inland navigable waters of the
Philippines;

b. throw, discharge or deposit, dump, or cause, suffer or procure to be thrown,


discharged, or deposited either from or out of any ship, barge, or other floating craft
or vessel of any kind, or from the shore, wharf, manufacturing establishment, or mill
of any kind, any refuse matter of any kind or description whatever other than that
flowing from streets and sewers and passing therefrom in a liquid state into tributary
of any navigable water from which the same shall float or be washed into such
navigable water; and

c. deposit x x x material of any kind in any place on the bank of any navigable water
or on the bank of any tributary of any navigable water, where the same shall be liable
to be washed into such navigable water, either by ordinary or high tides, or by storms
or floods, or otherwise, whereby navigation shall or may be impeded or obstructed or
increase the level of pollution of such water.

(7) When RA 6975 or the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)
Act of 1990 was signed into law on December 13, 1990, the PNP Maritime Group
was tasked to perform all police functions over the Philippine territorial waters and
rivers. Under Sec. 86, RA 6975, the police functions of the PCG shall be taken over
by the PNP when the latter acquires the capability to perform such functions. Since
the PNP Maritime Group has not yet attained the capability to assume and perform
the police functions of PCG over marine pollution, the PCG and PNP Maritime
Group shall coordinate with regard to the enforcement of laws, rules, and regulations
governing marine pollution within the territorial waters of the Philippines. This was
made clear in Sec. 124, RA 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, in which
both the PCG and PNP Maritime Group were authorized to enforce said law and
other fishery laws, rules, and regulations.[25]

(8) In accordance with Sec. 2 of EO 513, the PPA is mandated to establish, develop,
regulate, manage and operate a rationalized national port system in support of trade
and national development.[26] Moreover, Sec. 6-c of EO 513 states that the PPA has
police authority within the

ports administered by it as may be necessary to carry out its powers and functions
and attain its purposes and objectives, without prejudice to the exercise of the
functions of the Bureau of Customs and other law enforcement bodies within the
area. Such police authority shall include the following:

Lastly, as a member of the International Marine Organization and a signatory to the


International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, as amended by
MARPOL 73/78,[28] the Philippines, through the PPA, must ensure the provision of
adequate reception facilities at ports and terminals for the reception of sewage from
the ships docking in Philippine ports. Thus, the PPA is tasked to adopt such measures
as are necessary to prevent the discharge and dumping of solid and liquid wastes and
other ship-generated wastes into the Manila Bay waters from vessels docked at ports
and apprehend the violators. When the vessels are not docked at ports but within
Philippine territorial waters, it is the PCG and PNP Maritime Group that have
jurisdiction over said vessels.

(9) The MMDA, as earlier indicated, is duty-bound to put up and maintain adequate
sanitary landfill and solid waste and liquid disposal system as well as other
alternative garbage disposal systems. It is primarily responsible for the
implementation and enforcement of the provisions of RA 9003, which would
necessary include its penal provisions, within its area of jurisdiction.[29]

Among the prohibited acts under Sec. 48, Chapter VI of RA 9003 that are frequently
violated are dumping of waste matters in public places, such as roads, canals or
esteros, open burning of solid waste, squatting in open dumps and landfills, open
dumping, burying of biodegradable or non- biodegradable materials in flood-prone
areas, establishment or operation of open dumps as enjoined in RA 9003, and
operation of waste management facilities without an environmental compliance
certificate.

xxxx

b) To regulate the entry to, exit from, and movement within the port, of persons and
vehicles, as well as movement within the port of watercraft.[27]

Under Sec. 28 of the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (RA 7279),
eviction or demolition may be allowed when persons or entities occupy danger areas
such as esteros, railroad tracks, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways,
and other public places such as sidewalks, roads, parks and playgrounds. The
MMDA, as lead agency, in coordination with the DPWH, LGUs, and concerned
agencies, can dismantle and remove all structures, constructions, and other
encroachments built in breach of RA 7279 and other pertinent laws along the rivers,
waterways, and esteros in Metro Manila. With respect to rivers, waterways, and
esteros in Bulacan, Bataan, Pampanga, Cavite, and Laguna that discharge wastewater

directly or eventually into the Manila Bay, the DILG shall direct the concerned
LGUs to implement the demolition and removal of such structures, constructions,
and other encroachments built in violation of RA 7279 and other applicable laws in
coordination with the DPWH and concerned agencies.

utilization of government funds and revenues so as to effectively achieve the


countrys development objectives.[34]

(10) The Department of Health (DOH), under Article 76 of PD 1067 (the Water
Code), is tasked to promulgate rules and regulations for the establishment of waste
disposal areas that affect the source of a water supply or a reservoir for domestic or
municipal use. And under Sec. 8 of RA 9275, the DOH, in coordination with the
DENR, DPWH, and other concerned agencies, shall formulate guidelines and
standards for the collection, treatment, and disposal of sewage and the establishment
and operation of a centralized sewage treatment system. In areas not considered as
highly urbanized cities, septage or a mix sewerage-septage management system shall
be employed.

One of the countrys development objectives is enshrined in RA 9275 or the


Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004. This law stresses that the State shall pursue a
policy of economic growth in a manner consistent with the protection, preservation,
and revival of the quality of our fresh, brackish, and marine waters. It also provides
that it is the policy of the government, among others, to streamline processes and
procedures in the prevention, control, and abatement of pollution mechanisms for the
protection of water resources; to promote environmental strategies and use of
appropriate economic instruments and of control mechanisms for the protection of
water resources; to formulate a holistic national program of water quality
management that recognizes that issues related to this management cannot be
separated from concerns about water sources and ecological protection, water supply,
public health, and quality of life; and to provide a comprehensive management
program for water pollution focusing on pollution prevention.

In accordance with Sec. 72[30] of PD 856, the Code of Sanitation of the Philippines,
and Sec. 5.1.1[31] of Chapter XVII of its implementing rules, the DOH is also
ordered to ensure the regulation and monitoring of the proper disposal of wastes by
private sludge companies through the strict enforcement of the requirement to obtain
an environmental sanitation clearance of sludge collection treatment and disposal
before these companies are issued their environmental sanitation permit.

Thus, the DBM shall then endeavor to provide an adequate budget to attain the noble
objectives of RA 9275 in line with the countrys development objectives.

(11) The Department of Education (DepEd), under the Philippine Environment Code
(PD 1152), is mandated to integrate subjects on environmental education in its
school curricula at all levels.[32] Under Sec. 118 of RA 8550, the DepEd, in
collaboration with the DA, Commission on Higher Education, and Philippine
Information Agency, shall launch and pursue a nationwide educational campaign to
promote the development, management, conservation, and proper use of the
environment. Under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003), on the
other hand, it is directed to strengthen the integration of environmental concerns in
school curricula at all levels, with an emphasis on waste management principles.[33]
(12) The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is tasked under Sec. 2,
Title XVII of the Administrative Code of 1987 to ensure the efficient and sound

All told, the aforementioned enabling laws and issuances are in themselves clear,
categorical, and complete as to what are the obligations and mandate of each
agency/petitioner under the law. We need not belabor the issue that their tasks
include the cleanup of the Manila Bay.

Now, as to the crux of the petition. Do Secs. 17 and 20 of the Environment Code
encompass the cleanup of water pollution in general, not just specific pollution
incidents?

Secs. 17 and 20 of the Environment Code

10

Include Cleaning in General

The disputed sections are quoted as follows:

Section 17. Upgrading of Water Quality.Where the quality of water has deteriorated
to a degree where its state will adversely affect its best usage, the government
agencies concerned shall take such measures as may be necessary to upgrade the
quality of such water to meet the prescribed water quality standards.

Section 20. Clean-up Operations.It shall be the responsibility of the polluter to


contain, remove and clean-up water pollution incidents at his own expense. In case
of his failure to do so, the government agencies concerned shall undertake
containment, removal and clean-up operations and expenses incurred in said
operations shall be charged against the persons and/or entities responsible for such
pollution.

When the Clean Water Act (RA 9275) took effect, its Sec. 16 on the subject, Cleanup
Operations, amended the counterpart provision (Sec. 20) of the Environment Code
(PD 1152). Sec. 17 of PD 1152 continues, however, to be operational.

The amendatory Sec. 16 of RA 9275 reads:

up any pollution incident at his own expense to the extent that the same water bodies
have been rendered unfit for utilization and beneficial use: Provided, That in the
event emergency cleanup operations are necessary and the polluter fails to
immediately undertake the same, the [DENR] in coordination with other government
agencies concerned, shall undertake containment, removal and cleanup operations.
Expenses incurred in said operations shall be reimbursed by the persons found to
have caused such pollution under proper administrative determination x x x.
Reimbursements of the cost incurred shall be made to the Water Quality
Management Fund or to such other funds where said disbursements were sourced.

As may be noted, the amendment to Sec. 20 of the Environment Code is more


apparent than real since the amendment, insofar as it is relevant to this case, merely
consists in the designation of the DENR as lead agency in the cleanup operations.

Petitioners contend at every turn that Secs. 17 and 20 of the Environment Code
concern themselves only with the matter of cleaning up in specific pollution
incidents, as opposed to cleanup in general. They aver that the twin provisions would
have to be read alongside the succeeding Sec. 62(g) and (h), which defines the terms
cleanup operations and accidental spills, as follows:

g. Clean-up Operations [refer] to activities conducted in removing the pollutants


discharged or spilled in water to restore it to pre-spill condition.

h.
Accidental Spills [refer] to spills of oil or other hazardous substances in
water that result from accidents such as collisions and groundings.

SEC. 16. Cleanup Operations.Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 15 and 26


hereof, any person who causes pollution in or pollutes water bodies in excess of the
applicable and prevailing standards shall be responsible to contain, remove and clean

11

Petitioners proffer the argument that Secs. 17 and 20 of PD 1152 merely direct the
government agencies concerned to undertake containment, removal, and cleaning
operations of a specific polluted portion or portions of the body of water concerned.
They maintain that the application of said Sec. 20 is limited only to water pollution
incidents, which are situations that presuppose the occurrence of specific, isolated
pollution events requiring the corresponding containment, removal, and cleaning
operations. Pushing the point further, they argue that the aforequoted Sec. 62(g)
requires cleanup operations to restore the body of water to pre-spill condition, which
means that there must have been a specific incident of either intentional or accidental
spillage of oil or other hazardous substances, as mentioned in Sec. 62(h).

As a counterpoint, respondents argue that petitioners erroneously read Sec. 62(g) as


delimiting the application of Sec. 20 to the containment, removal, and cleanup
operations for accidental spills only. Contrary to petitioners posture, respondents
assert that Sec. 62(g), in fact, even expanded the coverage of Sec. 20. Respondents
explain that without its Sec. 62(g), PD 1152 may have indeed covered only pollution
accumulating from the day-to-day operations of businesses around the Manila Bay
and other sources of pollution that slowly accumulated in the bay. Respondents,
however, emphasize that Sec. 62(g), far from being a delimiting provision, in fact
even enlarged the operational scope of Sec. 20, by including accidental spills as
among the water pollution incidents contemplated in Sec. 17 in relation to Sec. 20 of
PD 1152.

To respondents, petitioners parochial view on environmental issues, coupled with


their narrow reading of their respective mandated roles, has contributed to the
worsening water quality of the Manila Bay. Assuming, respondents assert, that
petitioners are correct in saying that the cleanup coverage of Sec. 20 of PD 1152 is
constricted by the definition of the phrase cleanup operations embodied in Sec.
62(g), Sec. 17 is not hobbled by such limiting definition. As pointed out, the phrases
cleanup operations and accidental spills do not appear in said Sec. 17, not even in the
chapter where said section is found.

Respondents are correct. For one thing, said Sec. 17 does not in any way state that
the government agencies concerned ought to confine themselves to the containment,

removal, and cleaning operations when a specific pollution incident occurs. On the
contrary, Sec. 17 requires them to act even in the absence of a specific pollution
incident, as long as water quality has deteriorated to a degree where its state will
adversely affect its best usage. This section, to stress, commands concerned
government agencies, when appropriate, to take such measures as may be necessary
to meet the prescribed water quality standards. In fine, the underlying duty to
upgrade the quality of water is not conditional on the occurrence of any pollution
incident.

For another, a perusal of Sec. 20 of the Environment Code, as couched, indicates that
it is properly applicable to a specific situation in which the pollution is caused by
polluters who fail to clean up the mess they left behind. In such instance, the
concerned government agencies shall undertake the cleanup work for the polluters
account. Petitioners assertion, that they have to perform cleanup operations in the
Manila Bay only when there is a water pollution incident and the erring polluters do
not undertake the containment, removal, and cleanup operations, is quite off mark.
As earlier discussed, the complementary Sec. 17 of the Environment Code comes
into play and the specific duties of the agencies to clean up come in even if there are
no pollution incidents staring at them. Petitioners, thus, cannot plausibly invoke and
hide behind Sec. 20 of PD 1152 or Sec. 16 of RA 9275 on the pretext that their
cleanup mandate depends on the happening of a specific pollution incident. In this
regard, what the CA said with respect to the impasse over Secs. 17 and 20 of PD
1152 is at once valid as it is practical. The appellate court wrote: PD 1152 aims to
introduce a comprehensive program of environmental protection and management.
This is better served by making Secs. 17 & 20 of general application rather than
limiting them to specific pollution incidents.[35]

Granting arguendo that petitioners position thus described vis--vis the


implementation of Sec. 20 is correct, they seem to have overlooked the fact that the
pollution of the Manila Bay is of such magnitude and scope that it is well-nigh
impossible to draw the line between a specific and a general pollution incident. And
such impossibility extends to pinpointing with reasonable certainty who the polluters
are. We note that Sec. 20 of PD 1152 mentions water pollution incidents which may
be caused by polluters in the waters of the Manila Bay itself or by polluters in
adjoining lands and in water bodies or waterways that empty into the bay. Sec. 16 of

12

RA 9275, on the other hand, specifically adverts to any person who causes pollution
in or pollutes water bodies, which may refer to an individual or an establishment that
pollutes the land mass near the Manila Bay or the waterways, such that the
contaminants eventually end up in the bay. In this situation, the water pollution
incidents are so numerous and involve nameless and faceless polluters that they can
validly be categorized as beyond the specific pollution incident level.
Not to be ignored of course is the reality that the government agencies concerned are
so undermanned that it would be almost impossible to apprehend the numerous
polluters of the Manila Bay. It may perhaps not be amiss to say that the
apprehension, if any, of the Manila Bay polluters has been few and far between.
Hence, practically nobody has been required to contain, remove, or clean up a given
water pollution incident. In this kind of setting, it behooves the Government to step
in and undertake cleanup operations. Thus, Sec. 16 of RA 9275, previously Sec. 20
of PD 1152, covers for all intents and purposes a general cleanup situation.

The cleanup and/or restoration of the Manila Bay is only an aspect and the initial
stage of the long-term solution. The preservation of the water quality of the bay after
the rehabilitation process is as important as the cleaning phase. It is imperative then
that the wastes and contaminants found in the rivers, inland bays, and other bodies of
water be stopped from reaching the Manila Bay. Otherwise, any cleanup effort would
just be a futile, cosmetic exercise, for, in no time at all, the Manila Bay water quality
would again deteriorate below the ideal minimum standards set by PD 1152, RA
9275, and other relevant laws. It thus behooves the Court to put the heads of the
petitioner-department-agencies and the bureaus and offices under them on continuing
notice about, and to enjoin them to perform, their mandates and duties towards
cleaning up the Manila Bay and preserving the quality of its water to the ideal level.
Under what other judicial discipline describes as continuing mandamus,[36] the
Court may, under extraordinary circumstances, issue directives with the end in view
of ensuring that its decision would not be set to naught by administrative inaction or
indifference. In India, the doctrine of continuing mandamus was used to enforce
directives of the court to clean up the length of the Ganges River from industrial and
municipal pollution.[37]
The Court can take judicial notice of the presence of shanties and other unauthorized
structures which do not have septic tanks along the Pasig-Marikina-San Juan Rivers,
the National Capital Region (NCR) (Paraaque-Zapote, Las Pias) Rivers, the Navotas-

Malabon-Tullahan-Tenejeros Rivers, the Meycuayan-Marilao-Obando (Bulacan)


Rivers, the Talisay (Bataan) River, the Imus (Cavite) River, the Laguna De Bay, and
other minor rivers and connecting waterways, river banks, and esteros which
discharge their waters, with all the accompanying filth, dirt, and garbage, into the
major rivers and eventually the Manila Bay. If there is one factor responsible for the
pollution of the major river systems and the Manila Bay, these unauthorized
structures would be on top of the list. And if the issue of illegal or unauthorized
structures is not seriously addressed with sustained resolve, then practically all
efforts to cleanse these important bodies of water would be for naught. The DENR
Secretary said as much.[38]

Giving urgent dimension to the necessity of removing these illegal structures is Art.
51 of PD 1067 or the Water Code,[39] which prohibits the building of structures
within a given length along banks of rivers and other waterways. Art. 51 reads:

The banks of rivers and streams and the shores of the seas and lakes throughout their
entire length and within a zone of three (3) meters in urban areas, twenty (20) meters
in agricultural areas and forty (40) meters in forest areas, along their margins, are
subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation,
floatage, fishing and salvage. No person shall be allowed to stay in this zone longer
than what is necessary for recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing or salvage or to
build structures of any kind. (Emphasis added.)

Judicial notice may likewise be taken of factories and other industrial establishments
standing along or near the banks of the Pasig River, other major rivers, and
connecting waterways. But while they may not be treated as unauthorized
constructions, some of these establishments undoubtedly contribute to the pollution
of the Pasig River and waterways. The DILG and the concerned LGUs, have,
accordingly, the duty to see to it that non-complying industrial establishments set up,
within a reasonable period, the necessary waste water treatment facilities and
infrastructure to prevent their industrial discharge, including their sewage waters,
from flowing into the Pasig River, other major rivers, and connecting waterways.

13

After such period, non-complying establishments shall be shut down or asked to


transfer their operations.

At this juncture, and if only to dramatize the urgency of the need for petitionersagencies to comply with their statutory tasks, we cite the Asian Development Bankcommissioned study on the garbage problem in Metro Manila, the results of which
are embodied in the The Garbage Book. As there reported, the garbage crisis in the
metropolitan area is as alarming as it is shocking. Some highlights of the report:

1. As early as 2003, three land-filled dumpsites in Metro Manila - the Payatas,


Catmon and Rodriquez dumpsites - generate an alarming quantity of lead and
leachate or liquid run-off. Leachate are toxic liquids that flow along the surface and
seep into the earth and poison the surface and groundwater that are used for drinking,
aquatic life, and the environment.

2. The high level of fecal coliform confirms the presence of a large amount of human
waste in the dump sites and surrounding areas, which is presumably generated by
households that lack alternatives to sanitation. To say that Manila Bay needs
rehabilitation is an understatement.

3. Most of the deadly leachate, lead and other dangerous contaminants and possibly
strains of pathogens seeps untreated into ground water and runs into the Marikina
and Pasig River systems and Manila Bay.[40]

Given the above perspective, sufficient sanitary landfills should now more than ever
be established as prescribed by the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA
9003). Particular note should be taken of the blatant violations by some LGUs and
possibly the MMDA of Sec. 37, reproduced below:

person, including LGUs which [constitute] the use of open dumps for solid waste, be
allowed after the effectivity of this Act: Provided, further that no controlled dumps
shall be allowed (5) years following the effectivity of this Act. (Emphasis added.)

RA 9003 took effect on February 15, 2001 and the adverted grace period of five (5)
years which ended on February 21, 2006 has come and gone, but no single sanitary
landfill which strictly complies with the prescribed standards under RA 9003 has yet
been set up.

In addition, there are rampant and repeated violations of Sec. 48 of RA 9003, like
littering, dumping of waste matters in roads, canals, esteros, and other public places,
operation of open dumps, open burning of solid waste, and the like. Some sludge
companies which do not have proper disposal facilities simply discharge sludge into
the Metro Manila sewerage system that ends up in the Manila Bay. Equally unabated
are violations of Sec. 27 of RA 9275, which enjoins the pollution of water bodies,
groundwater pollution, disposal of infectious wastes from vessels, and unauthorized
transport or dumping into sea waters of sewage or solid waste and of Secs. 4 and 102
of RA 8550 which proscribes the introduction by human or machine of substances to
the aquatic environment including dumping/disposal of waste and other marine
litters, discharge of petroleum or residual products of petroleum of carbonaceous
materials/substances [and other] radioactive, noxious or harmful liquid, gaseous or
solid substances, from any water, land or air transport or other human-made
structure.

In the light of the ongoing environmental degradation, the Court wishes to emphasize
the extreme necessity for all concerned executive departments and agencies to
immediately act and discharge their respective official duties and obligations. Indeed,
time is of the essence; hence, there is a need to set timetables for the performance
and completion of the tasks, some of them as defined for them by law and the nature
of their respective offices and mandates.

Sec. 37. Prohibition against the Use of Open Dumps for Solid Waste.No open dumps
shall be established and operated, nor any practice or disposal of solid waste by any

14

The importance of the Manila Bay as a sea resource, playground, and as a historical
landmark cannot be over-emphasized. It is not yet too late in the day to restore the
Manila Bay to its former splendor and bring back the plants and sea life that once
thrived in its blue waters. But the tasks ahead, daunting as they may be, could only
be accomplished if those mandated, with the help and cooperation of all civicminded individuals, would put their minds to these tasks and take responsibility. This
means that the State, through petitioners, has to take the lead in the preservation and
protection of the Manila Bay.

The era of delays, procrastination, and ad hoc measures is over. Petitioners must
transcend their limitations, real or imaginary, and buckle down to work before the
problem at hand becomes unmanageable. Thus, we must reiterate that different
government agencies and instrumentalities cannot shirk from their mandates; they
must perform their basic functions in cleaning up and rehabilitating the Manila Bay.
We are disturbed by petitioners hiding behind two untenable claims: (1) that there
ought to be a specific pollution incident before they are required to act; and (2) that
the cleanup of the bay is a discretionary duty.

RA 9003 is a sweeping piece of legislation enacted to radically transform and


improve waste management. It implements Sec. 16, Art. II of the 1987 Constitution,
which explicitly provides that the State shall protect and advance the right of the
people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony
of nature.

So it was that in Oposa v. Factoran, Jr. the Court stated that the right to a balanced
and healthful ecology need not even be written in the Constitution for it is assumed,
like other civil and political rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, to exist from the
inception of mankind and it is an issue of transcendental importance with
intergenerational implications.[41] Even assuming the absence of a categorical legal
provision specifically prodding petitioners to clean up the bay, they and the men and
women representing them cannot escape their obligation to future generations of
Filipinos to keep the waters of the Manila Bay clean and clear as humanly as
possible. Anything less would be a betrayal of the trust reposed in them.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The September 28, 2005 Decision of the
CA in CA-G.R. CV No. 76528 and SP No. 74944 and the September 13, 2002
Decision of the RTC in Civil Case No. 1851-99 are AFFIRMED but with
MODIFICATIONS in view of subsequent developments or supervening events in the
case. The fallo of the RTC Decision shall now read:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the abovenamed defendantgovernment agencies to clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay, and restore
and maintain its waters to SB level (Class B sea waters per Water Classification
Tables under DENR Administrative Order No. 34 [1990]) to make them fit for
swimming, skin-diving, and other forms of contact recreation.

In particular:

(1) Pursuant to Sec. 4 of EO 192, assigning the DENR as the primary agency
responsible for the conservation, management, development, and proper use of the
countrys environment and natural resources, and Sec. 19 of RA 9275, designating the
DENR as the primary government agency responsible for its enforcement and
implementation, the DENR is directed to fully implement its Operational Plan for the
Manila Bay Coastal Strategy for the rehabilitation, restoration, and conservation of
the Manila Bay at the earliest possible time. It is ordered to call regular coordination
meetings with concerned government departments and agencies to ensure the
successful implementation of the aforesaid plan of action in accordance with its
indicated completion schedules.

(2) Pursuant to Title XII (Local Government) of the Administrative Code of 1987
and Sec. 25 of the Local Government Code of 1991,[42] the DILG, in exercising the
Presidents power of general supervision and its duty to promulgate guidelines in
establishing waste management programs under Sec. 43 of the Philippine
Environment Code (PD 1152), shall direct all LGUs in Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna,
Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan to inspect all factories, commercial
establishments, and private homes along the banks of the major river systems in their

15

respective areas of jurisdiction, such as but not limited to the Pasig-Marikina-San


Juan Rivers, the NCR (Paraaque-Zapote, Las Pias) Rivers, the Navotas-MalabonTullahan-Tenejeros Rivers, the Meycauayan-Marilao-Obando (Bulacan) Rivers, the
Talisay (Bataan) River, the Imus (Cavite) River, the Laguna De Bay, and other minor
rivers and waterways that eventually discharge water into the Manila Bay; and the
lands abutting the bay, to determine whether they have wastewater treatment
facilities or hygienic septic tanks as prescribed by existing laws, ordinances, and
rules and regulations. If none be found, these LGUs shall be ordered to require noncomplying establishments and homes to set up said facilities or septic tanks within a
reasonable time to prevent industrial wastes, sewage water, and human wastes from
flowing into these rivers, waterways, esteros, and the Manila Bay, under pain of
closure or imposition of fines and other sanctions.

(3) As mandated by Sec. 8 of RA 9275,[43] the MWSS is directed to provide, install,


operate, and maintain the necessary adequate waste water treatment facilities in
Metro Manila, Rizal, and Cavite where needed at the earliest possible time.

(4) Pursuant to RA 9275,[44] the LWUA, through the local water districts and in
coordination with the DENR, is ordered to provide, install, operate, and maintain
sewerage and sanitation facilities and the efficient and safe collection, treatment, and
disposal of sewage in the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, and
Bataan where needed at the earliest possible time.
(5) Pursuant to Sec. 65 of RA 8550,[45] the DA, through the BFAR, is ordered to
improve and restore the marine life of the Manila Bay. It is also directed to assist the
LGUs in Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan in
developing, using recognized methods, the fisheries and aquatic resources in the
Manila Bay.

(6) The PCG, pursuant to Secs. 4 and 6 of PD 979, and the PNP Maritime Group, in
accordance with Sec. 124 of RA 8550, in coordination with each other, shall
apprehend violators of PD 979, RA 8550, and other existing laws and regulations
designed to prevent marine pollution in the Manila Bay.

(7) Pursuant to Secs. 2 and 6-c of EO 513[46] and the International Convention for
the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, the PPA is ordered to immediately adopt such
measures to prevent the discharge and dumping of solid and liquid wastes and other
ship-generated wastes into the Manila Bay waters from vessels docked at ports and
apprehend the violators.

(8) The MMDA, as the lead agency and implementor of programs and projects for
flood control projects and drainage services in Metro Manila, in coordination with
the DPWH, DILG, affected LGUs, PNP Maritime Group, Housing and Urban
Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), and other agencies, shall dismantle
and remove all structures, constructions, and other encroachments established or
built in violation of RA 7279, and other applicable laws along the Pasig-MarikinaSan Juan Rivers, the NCR (Paraaque-Zapote, Las Pias) Rivers, the NavotasMalabon-Tullahan-Tenejeros Rivers, and connecting waterways and esteros in Metro
Manila. The DPWH, as the principal implementor of programs and projects for flood
control services in the rest of the country more particularly in Bulacan, Bataan,
Pampanga, Cavite, and Laguna, in coordination with the DILG, affected LGUs, PNP
Maritime Group, HUDCC, and other concerned government agencies, shall remove
and demolish all structures, constructions, and other encroachments built in breach of
RA 7279 and other applicable laws along the Meycauayan-Marilao-Obando
(Bulacan) Rivers, the Talisay (Bataan) River, the Imus (Cavite) River, the Laguna De
Bay, and other rivers, connecting waterways, and esteros that discharge wastewater
into the Manila Bay.

In addition, the MMDA is ordered to establish, operate, and maintain a sanitary


landfill, as prescribed by RA 9003, within a period of one (1) year from finality of
this Decision. On matters within its territorial jurisdiction and in connection with the
discharge of its duties on the maintenance of sanitary landfills and like undertakings,
it is also ordered to cause the apprehension and filing of the appropriate criminal
cases against violators of the respective penal provisions of RA 9003,[47] Sec. 27 of
RA 9275 (the Clean Water Act), and other existing laws on pollution.
(9) The DOH shall, as directed by Art. 76 of PD 1067 and Sec. 8 of RA 9275, within
one (1) year from finality of this Decision, determine if all licensed septic and sludge

16

companies have the proper facilities for the treatment and disposal of fecal sludge
and sewage coming from septic tanks. The DOH shall give the companies, if found
to be non-complying, a reasonable time within which to set up the necessary
facilities under pain of cancellation of its environmental sanitation clearance.

(10) Pursuant to Sec. 53 of PD 1152,[48] Sec. 118 of RA 8550, and Sec. 56 of RA


9003,[49] the DepEd shall integrate lessons on pollution prevention, waste
management, environmental protection, and like subjects in the school curricula of
all levels to inculcate in the minds and hearts of students and, through them, their
parents and friends, the importance of their duty toward achieving and maintaining a
balanced and healthful ecosystem in the Manila Bay and the entire Philippine
archipelago.

(11) The DBM shall consider incorporating an adequate budget in the General
Appropriations Act of 2010 and succeeding years to cover the expenses relating to
the cleanup, restoration, and preservation of the water quality of the Manila Bay, in
line with the countrys development objective to attain economic growth in a manner
consistent with the protection, preservation, and revival of our marine waters.
(12) The heads of petitioners-agencies MMDA, DENR, DepEd, DOH, DA, DPWH,
DBM, PCG, PNP Maritime Group, DILG, and also of MWSS, LWUA, and PPA, in
line with the principle of continuing mandamus, shall, from finality of this Decision,
each submit to the Court a quarterly progressive report of the activities undertaken in
accordance with this Decision.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. L-24294 May 3, 1974


DONALD BAER, Commander U.S. Naval Base, Subic Bay, Olongapo,
Zambales, petitioner,
vs.
HON. TITO V. TIZON, as Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of
Bataan, and EDGARDO GENER,respondents.
Sycip, Salazar, Luna Manalo & Feliciano for petitioner.
A. E. Dacanay for private respondent.
Office of the Solicitor General Camilo D. Quiason as amicus curiae.

FERNANDO, J.:p
There is nothing novel about the question raised in this certiorari proceeding against
the then Judge Tito V. Tizon, filed by petitioner Donald Baer, then Commander of the
United States Naval Base, Subic Bay, Olongapo, Zambales, seeking to nullify the
orders of respondent Judge denying his motion to dismiss a complaint filed against
him by the private respondent, Edgardo Gener, on the ground of sovereign immunity
of a foreign power, his contention being that it was in effect a suit against the United
States, which had not given its consent. The answer given is supplied by a number of
cases coming from this Tribunal starting from a 1945 decision, Raquiza v.
Bradford 1 to Johnson v. Turner, 2 promulgated in 1954. The doctrine of immunity
from suit is of undoubted applicability in this jurisdiction. It cannot be otherwise, for
under the 1935 Constitution, as now, it is expressly made clear that the Philippines
"adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the
Nation." 3 As will subsequently be shown, there was a failure on the part of the lower
court to accord deference and respect to such a basic doctrine, a failure compounded
by its refusal to take note of the absence of any legal right on the part of petitioner.
Hence, certiorari is the proper remedy.

17

The facts are not in dispute. On November 17, 1964, respondent Edgardo Gener, as
plaintiff, filed a complaint for injunction with the Court of First Instance of Bataan
against petitioner, Donald Baer, Commander of the United States Naval Base in
Olongapo. It was docketed as Civil Case No. 2984 of the Court of First Instance of
Bataan. He alleged that he was engaged in the business of logging in an area situated
in Barrio Mabayo, Municipality of Morong, Bataan and that the American Naval
Base authorities stopped his logging operations. He prayed for a writ of preliminary
injunction restraining petitioner from interfering with his logging operations. A
restraining order was issued by respondent Judge on November 23, 1964. 4 Counsel
for petitioner, upon instructions of the American Ambassador to the Philippines,
entered their appearance for the purpose of contesting the jurisdiction of respondent
Judge on the ground that the suit was one against a foreign sovereign without its
consent. 5 Then, on December 12, 1964, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss, wherein
such ground was reiterated. It was therein pointed out that he is the chief or head of
an agency or instrumentality of the United States of America, with the subject matter
of the action being official acts done by him for and in behalf of the United States of
America. It was added that in directing the cessation of logging operations by
respondent Gener within the Naval Base, petitioner was entirely within the scope of
his authority and official duty, the maintenance of the security of the Naval Base and
of the installations therein being the first concern and most important duty of the
Commander of the Base. 6 There was, on December 14, 1964, an opposition and
reply to petitioner's motion to dismiss by respondent Gener, relying on the principle
that "a private citizen claiming title and right of possession of certain property may,
to recover possession of said property, sue as individuals, officers and agents of the
Government, who are said to be illegally withholding the same from him, though in
doing so, said officers and agents claim that they are acting for the Government."
That was his basis for sustaining the jurisdiction of respondent Judge. 7 Petitioner,
thereafter, on January 12, 1965, made a written offer of documentary evidence,
including certified copies of telegrams of the Forestry Director to Forestry personnel
in Balanga, Bataan dated January 8, and January 11, 1965, directing immediate
investigation of illegal timber cutting in Bataan and calling attention to the fact that
the records of the office show no new renewal of timber license or temporary
extension permits. 8 The above notwithstanding, respondent Judge, on January 12,
1965, issued an order granting respondent Gener's application for the issuance of a
writ of preliminary injunction and denying petitioner's motion to dismiss the
opposition to the application for a writ of preliminary injunction. 9
A motion for reconsideration having proved futile, this petition for certiorari was
filed with this Court. The prayer was for the nullification and setting aside of the writ

of preliminary injunction issued by respondent Judge in the aforesaid Civil Case No.
2984 of the Court of First Instance of Bataan. A resolution of March 17, 1965 was
issued by this Court requiring respondents to file an answer and upon petitioner's
posting a bond of P5,000.00 enjoining them from enforcing such writ of preliminary
injunction. The answer was duly forthcoming. It sought to meet the judicial question
raised by the legal proposition that a private citizen claiming title and right of
possession of a certain property may, to recover the same, sue as individuals officers
and agents of the government alleged to be illegally withholding such property even
if there is an assertion on their part that they are acting for the government. Support
for such a view is found in the American Supreme Court decisions of United States
v. Lee 10and Land v. Dollar. 11 Thus the issue is squarely joined whether or not the
doctrine of immunity from suit without consent is applicable. Thereafter, extensive
memoranda were filed both by petitioner and respondents. In addition, there was a
manifestation and memorandum of the Republic of the Philippines as amicus
curiae where, after a citation of American Supreme Court decisions going back
to Schooner Exchange v. M'faddon, 12 an 1812 decision, to United States v.
Belmont,13 decided in 1937, the plea was made that the petition for certiorari be
granted..
A careful study of the crucial issue posed in this dispute yields the conclusion, as
already announced, that petitioner should prevail.
1. The invocation of the doctrine of immunity from suit of a foreign state without its
consent is appropriate. More specifically, insofar as alien armed forces is concerned,
the starting point is Raquiza v. Bradford, a 1945 decision.14 In dismissing a habeas
corpus petition for the release of petitioners confined by American army authorities,
Justice Hilado, speaking for the Court, cited from Coleman v. Tennessee, 15 where it
was explicitly declared: "It is well settled that a foreign army, permitted to march
through a friendly country or to be stationed in it, by permission of its government or
sovereign, is exempt from the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the place." 16 Two
years later, in Tubb and Tedrow v. Griess,17 this Court relied on the ruling in Raquiza
v. Bradford and cited in support thereof excerpts from the works of the following
authoritative writers: Vattel, Wheaton, Hall, Lawrence, Oppenhein, Westlake, Hyde,
and McNair and Lauterpacht. 18Accuracy demands the clarification that after the
conclusion of the Philippine-American Military Bases Agreement, the treaty
provisions should control on such matter, the assumption being that there was a
manifestation of the submission to jurisdiction on the part of the foreign power
whenever appropriate. 19 More to the point is Syquia v. Almeda Lopez, 20 where
plaintiffs as lessors sued the Commanding General of the United States Army in the

18

Philippines, seeking the restoration to them of the apartment buildings they owned
leased to United States armed forces stationed in the Manila area. A motion to
dismiss on the ground of non-suability was filed and upheld by respondent Judge.
The matter was taken to this Court in a mandamus proceeding. It failed. It was the
ruling that respondent Judge acted correctly considering that the "action must be
considered as one against the U.S. Government." 21 The opinion of Justice
Montemayor continued: "It is clear that the courts of the Philippines including the
Municipal Court of Manila have no jurisdiction over the present case for unlawful
detainer. The question of lack of jurisdiction was raised and interposed at the very
beginning of the action. The U.S. Government has not given its consent to the filing
of this suit which is essentially against her, though not in name. Moreover, this is not
only a case of a citizen filing a suit against his own Government without the latter's
consent but it is of a citizen filing an action against a foreign government without
said government's consent, which renders more obvious the lack of jurisdiction of
the courts of his country. The principles of law behind this rule are so elementary and
of such general acceptance that we deem it unnecessary to cite authorities in support
thereof." 22 Then came Marvel Building Corporation v. Philippine War Damage
Commission, 23 where respondent, a United States agency established to compensate
damages suffered by the Philippines during World War II was held as falling within
the above doctrine as the suit against it "would eventually be a charge against or
financial liability of the United States Government because ..., the Commission has
no funds of its own for the purpose of paying money
judgments." 24 The Syquia ruling was again explicitly relied upon inMarquez Lim v.
Nelson, 25 involving a complaint for the recovery of a motor launch, plus damages,
the special defense interposed being "that the vessel belonged to the United States
Government, that the defendants merely acted as agents of said Government, and
that the United States Government is therefore the real party in interest." 26 So it was
in Philippine Alien Property Administration v. Castelo, 27 where it was held that a suit
against the Alien Property Custodian and the Attorney General of the United States
involving vested property under the Trading with the Enemy Act is in substance a
suit against the United States. To the same effect is Parreno v. McGranery, 28 as the
following excerpt from the opinion of Justice Tuason clearly shows: "It is a widely
accepted principle of international law, which is made a part of the law of the land
(Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution), that a foreign state may not be brought to
suit before the courts of another state or its own courts without its
consent." 29 Finally, there is Johnson v. Turner, 30 an appeal by the defendant, then
Commanding General, Philippine Command (Air Force, with office at Clark Field)
from a decision ordering the return to plaintiff of the confiscated military payment
certificates known as scrip money. In reversing the lower court decision, this

Tribunal, through Justice Montemayor, relied on Syquia v. Almeda


Lopez, 31 explaining why it could not be sustained.
The solidity of the stand of petitioner is therefore evident. What was sought by
private respondent and what was granted by respondent Judge amounted to an
interference with the performance of the duties of petitioner in the base area in
accordance with the powers possessed by him under the Philippine-American
Military Bases Agreement. This point was made clear in these words: "Assuming, for
purposes of argument, that the Philippine Government, through the Bureau of
Forestry, possesses the "authority to issue a Timber License to cut logs" inside a
military base, the Bases Agreement subjects the exercise of rights under a timber
license issued by the Philippine Government to the exercise by the United States of
its rights, power and authority of control within the bases; and the findings of the
Mutual Defense Board, an agency of both the Philippine and United States
Governments, that "continued logging operation by Mr. Gener within the boundaries
of the U.S. Naval Base would not be consistent with the security and operation of the
Base," is conclusive upon the respondent Judge. .. The doctrine of state immunity is
not limited to cases which would result in a pecuniary charge against the sovereign
or would require the doing of an affirmative act by it. Prevention of a sovereign from
doing an affirmative act pertaining directly and immediately to the most important
public function of any government - the defense of the state is equally as
untenable as requiring it to do an affirmative act." 32 That such an appraisal is not
opposed to the interpretation of the relevant treaty provision by our government is
made clear in the aforesaid manifestation and memorandum as amicus curiae,
wherein it joined petitioner for the grant of the remedy prayed for.
2. There should be no misinterpretation of the scope of the decision reached by this
Court. Petitioner, as the Commander of the United States Naval Base in Olongapo,
does not possess diplomatic immunity. He may therefore be proceeded against in his
personal capacity, or when the action taken by him cannot be imputed to the
government which he represents. Thus, after the Military Bases Agreement,
in Miquiabas v. Commanding General 33 and Dizon v. The Commanding General of
the Philippine-Ryukus Command, 34 both of them being habeas corpus petitions, there
was no question as to the submission to jurisdiction of the respondents. As a matter
of fact, inMiquiabas v. Commanding General, 35 the immediate release of the
petitioner was ordered, it being apparent that the general court martial appointed by
respondent Commanding General was without jurisdiction to try petitioner.
Thereafter, in the cited cases of Syquia, Marquez Lim, and Johnson, the parties
proceeded against were American army commanding officers stationed in the

19

Philippines. The insuperable obstacle to the jurisdiction of respondent Judge is that a


foreign sovereign without its consent is haled into court in connection with acts
performed by it pursuant to treaty provisions and thus impressed with a
governmental character.
3. The infirmity of the actuation of respondent Judge becomes even more glaring
when it is considered that private respondent had ceased to have any right of entering
within the base area. This is made clear in the petition in these words: "In 1962,
respondent Gener was issued by the Bureau of Forestry an ordinary timber license to
cut logs in Barrio Mabayo, Morong, Bataan. The license was renewed on July 10,
1963. In 1963, he commenced logging operation inside the United States Naval
Base, Subic Bay, but in November 1963 he was apprehended and stopped by the
Base authorities from logging inside the Base. The renewal of his license expired on
July 30, 1964, and to date his license has not been renewed by the Bureau of
Forestry. .. In July 1964, the Mutual Defense Board, a joint Philippines-United States
agency established pursuant to an exchange of diplomatic notes between the
Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the United States Ambassador to provide "direct
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-49112 February 2, 1979
LEOVILLO C. AGUSTIN, petitioner,
vs.
HON. ROMEO F. EDU, in his capacity as Land Transportation Commissioner;
HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, in his capacity as Minister of National Defense;
HON. ALFREDO L. JUINIO, in his capacity as Minister Of Public Works,
Transportation and Communications; and HON: BALTAZAR AQUINO, in his
capacity as Minister of Public Highways, respondents.
Leovillo C. Agustin Law Office for petitioner.
Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza, Assistant Solicitor General Ruben E. Agpalo
and Solicitor Amado D. Aquino for respondents.

liaison and consultation between appropriate Philippine and United States authorities
on military matters of mutual concern,' advised the Secretary of Foreign Affairs in
writing that: "The enclosed map shows that the area in which Mr. Gener was logging
definitely falls within the boundaries of the base. This map also depicts certain
contiguous and overlapping areas whose functional usage would be interfered with
by the logging operations.'" 36 Nowhere in the answer of respondents, nor in their
memorandum, was this point met. It remained unrefuted.
WHEREFORE, the writ of certiorari prayed for is granted, nullifying and setting
aside the writ of preliminary injunction issued by respondent Judge in Civil Case No.
2984 of the Court of First Instance of Bataan. The injunction issued by this Court on
March 18, 1965 enjoining the enforcement of the aforesaid writ of preliminary
injunction of respondent Judge is hereby made permanent. Costs against private
respondent Edgardo Gener.
Zaldivar, Antonio, Fernandez and Aquino, JJ., concur.
Barredo, J., took no part.
FERNANDO, J.:
The validity of a letter of Instruction 1 providing for an early seaming device for
motor vehicles is assailed in this prohibition proceeding as being violative of the
constitutional guarantee of due process and, insofar as the rules and regulations for
its implementation are concerned, for transgressing the fundamental principle of nondelegation of legislative power. The Letter of Instruction is stigmatized by petitioner
who is possessed of the requisite standing, as being arbitrary and oppressive. A
temporary restraining order as issued and respondents Romeo F. Edu, Land
Transportation Commissioner Juan Ponce Enrile, Minister of National Defense;
Alfredo L. Juinio, Minister of Public Works, Transportation and Communications;
and Baltazar Aquino, Minister of Public Highways; were to answer. That they did in
a pleading submitted by Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza. 2 Impressed with a
highly persuasive quality, it makes devoid clear that the imputation of a
constitutional infirmity is devoid of justification 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 legislative power.
Accordingly, the petition must be dismissed.
The facts are undisputed. The assailed Letter of Instruction No. 229 of President
Marcos, issued on December 2, 1974, reads in full: "[Whereas], statistics show that

20

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 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 United Nations Organization (U.N.);
[Whereas], the said Vienna 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; [Now, therefore, I, Ferdinand E.
Marcos], President of the Philippines, in the interest of safety on all streets and
highways, including expressways or limited access roads, do hereby direct: 1. That
all owners, users or drivers of motor vehicles shall have at all times in their motor
vehicles at least one (1) pair of early warning device consisting of triangular,
collapsible reflectorized plates in red and yellow colors at least 15 cms. at the base
and 40 cms. at the sides. 2. Whenever any motor vehicle is stalled or disabled or is
parked for thirty (30) minutes or more on any street or highway, including
expressways or limited access roads, the owner, user or driver thereof shall cause the
warning device mentioned herein to be installed at least four meters away to the front
and rear of the motor vehicle staged, disabled or parked. 3. The Land Transportation
Commissioner shall cause Reflectorized Triangular Early Warning Devices, as herein
described, to be prepared and issued to registered owners of motor vehicles, except
motorcycles and trailers, charging for each piece not more than 15 % of the
acquisition cost. He shall also promulgate such rules and regulations as are
appropriate to effectively implement this order. 4. All hereby concerned shall closely
coordinate and take such measures as are necessary or appropriate to carry into effect
then instruction. 3 Thereafter, on November 15, 1976, it was amended by Letter of
Instruction No. 479 in this wise. "Paragraph 3 of Letter of Instruction No. 229 is
hereby amended to read as follows: 3. The Land transportation Commissioner shall
require every motor vehicle owner to procure from any and present at the registration
of his vehicle, 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 order.'" 4 There was issued accordingly, by respondent Edu, the implementing
rules and regulations on December 10, 1976. 5 They were not enforced as President
Marcos on January 25, 1977, ordered a six-month period of suspension insofar as the
installation of early warning device as a pre-registration requirement for motor
vehicle was concerned. 6 Then on June 30, 1978, another Letter of Instruction 7 the
lifting of such suspension and directed the immediate implementation of Letter of
Instruction No. 229 as amended. 8 It was not until August 29, 1978 that respondent

Edu issued Memorandum Circular No. 32, worded thus: "In pursuance of Letter of
Instruction No. 716, dated June 30, 1978, the implementation of Letter of Instruction
No. 229, as amended by Letter of Instructions No. 479, requiring the use of Early
Warning Devices (EWD) on motor vehicle, the following rules and regulations are
hereby issued: 1. LTC Administrative Order No. 1, dated December 10, 1976; shall
now be implemented provided that the device may come from whatever source and
that it shall have substantially complied with the EWD specifications contained in
Section 2 of said administrative order; 2. In order to insure that every motor vehicle ,
except motorcycles, is equipped with the device, a pair of serially numbered stickers,
to be issued free of charge by this Commission, shall be attached to each EWD. The
EWD. serial number shall be indicated on the registration certificate and official
receipt of payment of current registration fees of the motor vehicle concerned. All
Orders, Circulars, and Memoranda in conflict herewith are hereby superseded, This
Order shall take effect immediately. 9 It was for immediate implementation by
respondent Alfredo L. Juinio, as Minister of Public Works, transportation, and
Communications. 10
Petitioner, after setting forth that he "is the owner of a Volkswagen Beetle Car,
Model 13035, already properly equipped when it came out from the assembly lines
with blinking lights fore and aft, which could very well serve as an early warning
device in case of the emergencies mentioned in Letter of Instructions No. 229, as
amended, as well as the implementing rules and 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 "oppressive, unreasonable, arbitrary,
confiscatory, nay unconstitutional and contrary to the precepts of our compassionate
New Society." 12 He contended that they are "infected with arbitrariness because it is
harsh, cruel and unconscionable to the motoring public;" 13 are "one-sided, onerous
and patently illegal and immoral because [they] will make manufacturers and dealers
instant millionaires at the expense of car owners who are compelled to buy a set of
the so-called early warning device at the rate of P 56.00 to P72.00 per set." 14are
unlawful and unconstitutional and contrary to the precepts of a compassionate New
Society [as being] compulsory and confiscatory on the part of the motorists who
could very well provide a practical alternative road safety device, or a better
substitute to the specified set of EWD's." 15 He therefore prayed for a judgment both
the assailed Letters of Instructions and Memorandum Circular void and
unconstitutional and for a restraining order in the meanwhile.

21

A resolution to this effect was handed down by this Court on October 19, 1978: "L49112 (Leovillo C. Agustin v. Hon. Romeo F. Edu, etc., et al.) Considering the
allegations contained, the issues raised and the arguments adduced in the petition for
prohibition with writ of p prohibitory and/or mandatory injunction, the Court
Resolved to (require) the respondents to file an answer thereto within ton (10) days
from notice and not to move to dismiss the petition. The Court further Resolved to
[issue] a [temporary restraining order] effective as of this date and continuing until
otherwise ordered by this Court. 16
Two motions for extension were filed by the Office of the Solicitor General and
granted. Then on November 15, 1978, he Answer for respondents was submitted.
After admitting the factual allegations and stating that they lacked knowledge or
information sufficient to form a belief as to petitioner owning a Volkswagen Beetle
car," they "specifically deny the allegations and stating they lacked knowledge or
information sufficient to form a belief as to petitioner owning a Volkswagen Beetle
Car, 17 they specifically deny the allegations in paragraphs X and XI (including its
subparagraphs 1, 2, 3, 4) of Petition to the effect that Letter of Instruction No. 229 as
amended by Letters of Instructions Nos. 479 and 716 as well as Land transportation
Commission Administrative Order No. 1 and its Memorandum Circular No. 32
violates the constitutional provisions on due process of law, equal protection of law
and undue delegation of police power, and that the same are likewise oppressive,
arbitrary, confiscatory, one-sided, onerous, immoral 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 litany of grievances
and merely invoked the sacramental phrases of constitutional litigation, the Answer,
in demonstrating that the assailed Letter of Instruction was a valid exercise of the
police power and implementing rules and regulations of respondent Edu not
susceptible to the charge that there was unlawful delegation of legislative power,
there was in the portion captioned Special and Affirmative Defenses, a citation of
what respondents believed to be the authoritative decisions of this Tribunal calling
for application. They are Calalang v. Williams, 19 Morfe v. Mutuc, 20 and Edu v.
Ericta. 21 Reference was likewise made to the 1968 Vienna Conventions of the
United Nations on road traffic, road signs, and signals, of which the Philippines was
a signatory and which was duly ratified. 22 Solicitor General Mendoza took pains to
refute in detail, in language calm and dispassionate, the vigorous, at times
intemperate, accusation of petitioner that the assailed Letter of Instruction and the
implementing rules and regulations cannot survive the test of rigorous scrutiny. To
repeat, its highly-persuasive quality cannot be denied.

This Court thus considered the petition submitted for decision, the issues being
clearly joined. As noted at the outset, it is far from meritorious and must be
dismissed.
1. The Letter of Instruction in question was issued in the exercise of the police
power. That is conceded by petitioner and is the main reliance of respondents. It is
the submission of the former, however, that while embraced in such a category, it has
offended against the due process and equal protection safeguards of the Constitution,
although the latter point was mentioned only in passing. The broad and expansive
scope of the police power which was originally Identified by Chief Justice Taney of
the American Supreme Court in an 1847 decision as "nothing more or less than the
powers of government inherent in every sovereignty" 23 was stressed in the
aforementioned case of Edu v. Ericta thus: "Justice Laurel, in the first leading
decision 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 promote the general welfare. Persons and property
could thus 'be subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens in order to we the
general comfort, health and prosperity of the state.' Shortly after independence in
1948, Primicias v. Fugoso reiterated the doctrine, such a competence being referred
to as 'the power to prescribe regulations to promote the health, morals, peace,
education, good order or safety, and general welfare of the people. The concept was
set forth in negative terms by Justice Malcolm in a pre-Commonwealth decision as
'that inherent and plenary power in the State which enables it to prohibit all things
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. It is, to quote Justice Malcolm anew, 'the most essential, insistent, and
at least table powers, I extending as Justice 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 circumstances thus assuring the greatest
benefits. In the language of Justice Cardozo: 'Needs that were narrow or parochial in
the past may be interwoven in the present with the well-being of the nation. What is
critical or urgent changes with the time.' The police power is thus a dynamic agency,
suitably vague and far from precisely defined, rooted in the conception that men in
organizing the state and imposing upon its government limitations to safeguard
constitutional rights did not intend thereby to enable an individual citizen or a group
of citizens to obstruct unreasonably the enactment of such salutary measures
calculated to communal peace, safety, good order, and welfare." 24

22

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 would be a rare occurrence indeed for this Court to invalidate a
legislative or executive act of that character. None has been called to our attention,
an indication of its being non-existent. The latest decision in point, Edu v. Ericta,
sustained the validity of the Reflector Law, 25 an enactment conceived with the same
end in view. Calalang v. Williams found nothing objectionable in a statute, the
purpose of which was: "To promote safe transit upon, and. avoid obstruction on
roads and streets designated as national roads * * *. 26 As a matter of fact, the first
law sought to be nullified after the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution, the National
Defense Act, 27 with petitioner failing in his quest, was likewise prompted by the
imperative demands of public safety.
3. The futility of petitioner's effort to nullify both the Letter of Instruction and the
implementing rules and regulations becomes even more apparent considering his
failure to lay the necessary factual foundation to rebut the presumption of validity.
So it was held in Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association, Inc. v. City
Mayor of Manila. 28 The rationale was clearly set forth in an excerpt from a decision
of Justice Branders of the American Supreme Court, quoted in the opinion: "The
statute here questioned deals with a subject clearly within the scope of the police
power. We are asked to declare it void on the ground that 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 must prevail in the
absence of some factual foundation of record in overthrowing the statute. 29
4. Nor did the Solicitor General as he very well could, rely solely on such rebutted
presumption of validity. As was pointed out in his Answer "The President certainly
had in his possession the necessary statistical information and data at the time he
issued said letter of instructions, and such factual foundation cannot be defeated by
petitioner's naked assertion that early warning devices 'are not too vital to the
prevention of nighttime vehicular accidents' because allegedly only 390 or 1.5 per
cent of the supposed 26,000 motor vehicle accidents that in 1976 involved rear-end
collisions (p. 12 of petition). Petitioner's statistics is not backed up by demonstrable
data on record. As aptly stated by this Honorable Court: Further: "It admits of no
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 that not
reason enough to require the installation of early warning devices to prevent another

390 rear-end collisions that could mean the death of 390 or more Filipinos and the
deaths that could likewise result from head-on or frontal collisions with stalled
vehicles?" 30 It is quite manifest then that the issuance of such Letter of Instruction is
encased in the armor of prior, careful study by the Executive Department. To set it
aside for alleged repugnancy to the due process clause is to give sanction to
conjectural claims that exceeded even the broadest permissible limits of a pleader's
well known penchant for exaggeration.
5. The rather wild and fantastic nature of the charge of oppressiveness of this Letter
of Instruction was exposed in the 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 lights in the fore and aft of
said motor vehicles,' 2) "battery-powered blinking lights inside motor vehicles," 3)
"built-in reflectorized tapes on front and rear bumpers of motor vehicles," or 4)
"well-lighted two (2) petroleum lamps (the Kinke) * * * because: Being universal
among the signatory countries to the said 1968 Vienna Conventions, and visible even
under adverse conditions at a distance of at least 400 meters, any motorist from this
country or from any part of the world, who sees a reflectorized rectangular early
seaming device installed on the roads, highways or expressways, will conclude,
without thinking, that somewhere along the travelled portion of that road, highway,
or expressway, there is a motor vehicle which is stationary, stalled or disabled which
obstructs or endangers passing traffic. On the other hand, a motorist who sees any of
the aforementioned other built in warning devices or the petroleum lamps will not
immediately get adequate advance warning 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 collision. 31
6. Nor did the other extravagant assertions of constitutional deficiency go unrefuted
in the Answer of the Solicitor General "There is nothing in the questioned Letter of
Instruction No. 229, as amended, or in Administrative Order No. 1, which requires or
compels motor vehicle owners to purchase the early warning device prescribed
thereby. All that is required is for motor vehicle owners concerned like petitioner, to
equip their motor vehicles with a pair of this early warning device in question,
procuring or obtaining the same from whatever source. In fact, with a little of
industry and practical ingenuity, motor vehicle owners can even personally make or
produce this early warning device so long as the same substantially conforms with
the specifications laid down in said letter of instruction and administrative order.
Accordingly the early warning device requirement can neither be oppressive,

23

onerous, immoral, nor confiscatory, much less does it make manufacturers and
dealers of said devices 'instant millionaires at the expense of car owners' as petitioner
so sweepingly concludes * * *. Petitioner's fear that with the early warning device
requirement 'a more subtle racket may be committed by those called upon to enforce
it * * * is an unfounded speculation. Besides, that unscrupulous officials may try to
enforce said requirement in an unreasonable manner or to an unreasonable degree,
does not render the same illegal or immoral where, as in the instant case, the
challenged Letter of Instruction No. 229 and implementing order disclose none of the
constitutional defects alleged against it. 32
7 It does appear clearly that petitioner's objection to this 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 that is the appropriate word, by
its unorthodoxy. It bears repeating "that this Court, in the language of Justice Laurel,
'does not pass upon questions of wisdom justice or expediency of legislation.' As
expressed by Justice Tuason: 'It is not the province of the courts to supervise
legislation and keep it within the bounds of propriety and common sense. That is
primarily and exclusively a legislative concern.' There can be no possible objection
then to the observation of Justice Montemayor. 'As long as laws do not violate any
Constitutional provision, the Courts merely interpret and apply them regardless of
whether or not they are wise or salutary. For they, according to Justice Labrador, 'are
not supposed to override legitimate policy and * * * never inquire into the wisdom of
the law.' It is thus settled, to paraphrase Chief Justice Concepcion in Gonzales v.
Commission on Elections, that only congressional power or competence, not the
wisdom of the action taken, may be the basis for declaring a statute invalid. This is as
it ought to be. The principle of separation of powers has in the main wisely allocated
the respective authority of each department and confined its jurisdiction to such a
sphere. There would then be intrusion not allowable under the Constitution if on a
matter left to the discretion of a coordinate branch, the judiciary would substitute its
own. If there be adherence to the rule of law, as there ought to be, the last offender
should be courts of justice, to which rightly litigants submit their controversy
precisely to maintain unimpaired the supremacy of legal norms and prescriptions.
The attack on the validity of the challenged provision likewise insofar as there may
be objections, even if valid and cogent on is wisdom cannot be sustained. 33
8. The alleged infringement of the fundamental principle of non-delegation of
legislative power is equally without any support well-settled legal doctrines. Had
petitioner taken the trouble to acquaint himself with authoritative pronouncements

from this Tribunal, he would not have the temerity to make such an assertion. An
exempt from the aforecited decision of Edu v. Ericta sheds light on the matter: "To
avoid the taint of unlawful 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 legislative policy, marks its maps out its boundaries and
specifies the public agency to apply it. It indicates the circumstances under which the
legislative command is to be effected. It is the criterion by which legislative purpose
may be carried out. Thereafter, the executive or administrative office designated may
in pursuance of the above guidelines promulgate supplemental rules and regulations.
The standard may be either express or implied. If the former, the non-delegation
objection is easily met. The standard though does not have to be spelled out
specifically. It could be implied from the policy and purpose of the act considered as
a whole. In the Reflector Law clearly, the legislative objective is public safety. What
is sought to be attained as in Calalang v. Williams is "safe transit upon the roads.'
This is to adhere to the recognition given expression by Justice Laurel in a decision
announced not too long after the Constitution came into force and effect that the
principle of non-delegation "has been made to adapt itself to the complexities of
modern governments, giving rise to the adoption, within certain limits, of the
principle of "subordinate legislation" not only in the 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 administering the laws, there
is a constantly growing tendency toward the delegation of greater powers by the
legislature and toward the approval of the practice by the courts.' Consistency with
the conceptual approach requires the reminder that what is delegated is authority
non-legislative in character, the completeness of the statute when it leaves the hands
of Congress being assumed." 34
9. The conclusion reached by this Court that this petition must be dismissed is
reinforced by this consideration. The petition 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 Road Signs and Signals and the United
Nations Organization (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

24

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.

I dissent from the majority's peremptory dismissal of the petition and lifting of the
restraining order issued on October 19, 1978 against the blanket enforcement of the
requirement that all motor vehicles be equipped with the so-called early warning
device, without even hearing the parties in oral argument as generally required by the
Court in original cases of far-reaching consequence such as the case at bar.

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 invocation of which a party to a
lawsuit can rightfully expect that success will crown his efforts. The law is anything
but that.

Lack of time presents my filing an extended dissent. I only wish to state that the
petition advances grave and serious grounds of assailing "the rules and regulations
issued by the Land Transportation Commission under Administrative Order No. 1
and Memorandum Circular No. 32 [which] do not reflect the real intent, noble
objectives and spirit of Letter of Instructions No. 229, as amended by Letter of
Instructions Nos. 479 and 716, because it is oppressive, unreasonable, arbitrary,
confiscatory, nay unconstitutional and contrary to the precepts of our compassionate
New Society," because of the following considerations, inter alia:

WHEREFORE, this petition is dismissed. The restraining order is lifted. This


decision is immediately executory. No costs.
Castro, C.J., Barredo, Antonio, Santos, Fernandez, Guerrero, Abad Santos, De
Castro and Melencio-Herrera, concur.
Makasiar, J, reserves the right to file a separate opinion.
Aquino J., took no part.
Concepcion J., is on leave.
Castro, C.J., certifies that Justice Concepcion concurs in their decision.

Separate Opinions

TEEHANKEE, J., dissenting:

1. It is oppressive, arbitrary and discriminatory to require owners of motor vehicles


with built-in and more effective and efficient E.W.D.'S such as "a) blinking lights in
the fore and aft of said motor vehicles, 1)) battery-powered blinking lights inside
motor vehicles, c) built-in reflectorized tapes on front and rear bumpers of motor
vehicles....... to purchase the E.W.D. specified in the challenged administrative order,
whose effectivity and utility have yet to be demonstrated.
2. The public necessity for the challenged order has yet to be shown. No valid
refutation has been made of petitioner's assertion that the "E.W.D.'s are not too vital
to the prevention of nighttime vehicular accidents. Statistics shows that of the 26,000
motor vehicle accidents that occurred in 1976, only 390 or 1.5 per cent involved rearend collisions," as to require the purchase and installation of the questioned E.W.D.
for almost 900,000 vehicles throughout the country;
3. The big financial burden to be imposed on all motorists is staggering, and
petitioner's assertion that "as of 1975, there were at least 865,037 motor vehicles all
over the country requiring E.W.D.'S and at the minimum price of 1156.00 per set,
this would mean a consumer outlay of P 48,451,872.00, or close to P 50 million for
the questioned E.W.D.'S "stands unchallenged;
4. No real effort has been made to show that there can be practical and less
burdensome alternative road safety devices for stalled vehicles than the prescribed
E.W.D., such as the common petroleum lamps "kinke" which can be placed just as
effectively in front of stalled vehicles on the highways; and

25

5. There is no imperative need for imposing such a bet requirement on all vehicles.
The respondents have not shown that they have availed of the powers and
prerogatives vested in their offices such as ridding the country of dilapidated trucks
and vehicles which are the main cause of the deplorable -highway accidents due to
stoned vehicles, establishing an honest and foolproof system of examination and
licensing of motor vehicle drivers so as to ban the reckless and irresponsible and a
sustained education campaign to instill safe driving habits and attitudes that can be
carried out for much less than the P 50 million burden that would be imposed by the
challenged order.
I do feel that a greater "degree of receptivity and sympathy" could be extended to the
petitioner for his civic mindedness in having filed the present petition g as capricious
and unreasonable the "all pervading police power" of the State instead of throwing
the case out of court and leaving the wrong impression that the exercise of police
power insofar as it may affect the life, liberty and property of any person is no longer
subject to judicial inquiry.

# Separate Opinions
TEEHANKEE, J., dissenting:
I dissent from the majority's peremptory dismissal of the petition and lifting of the
restraining order issued on October 19, 1978 against the blanket enforcement of the
requirement that all motor vehicles be equipped with the so-called early warning
device, without even hearing the parties in oral argument as generally required by the
Court in original cases of far-reaching consequence such as the case at bar.
Lack of time presents my filing an extended dissent. I only wish to state that the
petition advances grave and serious grounds of assailing "the rules and regulations
issued by the Land Transportation Commission under Administrative Order No. 1
and Memorandum Circular No. 32 [which] do not reflect the real intent, noble
objectives and spirit of Letter of Instructions No. 229, as amended by Letter of
Instructions Nos. 479 and 716, because it is oppressive, unreasonable, arbitrary,
confiscatory, nay unconstitutional and contrary to the precepts of our compassionate
New Society," because of the following considerations, inter alia:

1. It is oppressive, arbitrary and discriminatory to require owners of motor vehicles


with built-in and more effective and efficient E.W.D.'S such as "a) blinking lights in
the fore and aft of said motor vehicles, 1)) battery-powered blinking lights inside
motor vehicles, c) built-in reflectorized tapes on front and rear bumpers of motor
vehicles....... to purchase the E.W.D. specified in the challenged administrative order,
whose effectivity and utility have yet to be demonstrated.
2. The public necessity for the challenged order has yet to be shown. No valid
refutation has been made of petitioner's assertion that the "E.W.D.'s are not too vital
to the prevention of nighttime vehicular accidents. Statistics shows that of the 26,000
motor vehicle accidents that occurred in 1976, only 390 or 1.5 per cent involved rearend collisions," as to require the purchase and installation of the questioned E.W.D.
for almost 900,000 vehicles throughout the country;
3. The big financial burden to be imposed on all motorists is staggering, and
petitioner's assertion that "as of 1975, there were at least 865,037 motor vehicles all
over the country requiring E.W.D.'S and at the minimum price of 1156.00 per set,
this would mean a consumer outlay of P 48,451,872.00, or close to P 50 million for
the questioned E.W.D.'S "stands unchallenged;
4. No real effort has been made to show that there can be practical and less
burdensome alternative road safety devices for stalled vehicles than the prescribed
E.W.D., such as the common petroleum lamps "kinke" which can be placed just as
effectively in front of stalled vehicles on the highways; and
5. There is no imperative need for imposing such a bet requirement on all vehicles.
The respondents have not shown that they have availed of the powers and
prerogatives vested in their offices such as ridding the country of dilapidated trucks
and vehicles which are the main cause of the deplorable -highway accidents due to
stoned vehicles, establishing an honest and foolproof system of examination and
licensing of motor vehicle drivers so as to ban the reckless and irresponsible and a
sustained education campaign to instill safe driving habits and attitudes that can be
carried out for much less than the P 50 million burden that would be imposed by the
challenged order.
I do feel that a greater "degree of receptivity and sympathy" could be extended to the
petitioner for his civic mindedness in having filed the present petition g as capricious
and unreasonable the "all pervading police power" of the State instead of throwing
the case out of court and leaving the wrong impression that the exercise of police

26

power insofar as it may affect the life, liberty and property of any person is no longer
subject to judicial inquiry.

#Footnotes

FIRST DIVISION

National Assembly. It must depend on the discretion of some other government


official to whom is confided the duty of determining whether the proper occasion
exists for executing the law. But it cannot be said that the exercise of such discretion
is the making of the law.

[G.R. No. 47800. December 2, 1940.]


MAXIMO CALALANG, Petitioner, v. A. D. WILLIAMS, ET AL., Respondents.
Maximo Calalang in his own behalf.
Solicitor General Ozaeta and Assistant Solicitor General Amparo for
respondents Williams, Fragante and Bayan
City Fiscal Mabanag for the other respondents.
SYLLABUS
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; CONSTITUTIONALITY OF COMMONWEALTH
ACT No. 648; DELEGATION OF LEGISLATIVE POWER; AUTHORITY OF
DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS AND SECRETARY OF PUBLIC WORKS AND
COMMUNICATIONS TO PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS. The
provisions of section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 648 do not confer legislative
power upon the Director of Public Works and the Secretary of Public Works and
Communications. The authority therein conferred upon them and under which they
promulgated the rules and regulations now complained of is not to determine what
public policy demands but merely to carry out the legislative policy laid down by the
National Assembly in said Act, to wit, "to promote safe transit upon, and avoid
obstructions on, roads and streets designated as national roads by acts of the National
Assembly or by executive orders of the President of the Philippines" and to close
them temporarily to any or all classes of traffic "whenever the condition of the road
or the traffic thereon makes such action necessary or advisable in the public
convenience and interest." The delegated power, if at all, therefore, is not the
determination of what the law shall be, but merely the ascertainment of the facts and
circumstances upon which the application of said law is to be predicated. To
promulgate rules and regulations on the use of national roads and to determine when
and how long a national road should be closed to traffic, in view of the condition of
the road or the traffic thereon and the requirements of public convenience and
interest, is an administrative function which cannot be directly discharged by the

2. ID.; ID.; POLICE POWER; PERSONAL LIBERTY; GOVERNMENTAL


AUTHORITY. Commonwealth Act No. 548 was passed by the National
Assembly in the exercise of the paramount police power of the state. Said Act, by
virtue of which the rules and regulations complained of were promulgated, aims to
promote safe transit upon and avoid obstructions on national roads, in the interest
and convenience of the public. In enacting said law, therefore, the National Assembly
was prompted by considerations of public convenience and welfare. It was inspired
by a desire to relieve congestion of traffic, which is, to say the least, a menace to
public safety. Public welfare, then, lies at the bottom of the enactment of said law,
and the state in order to promote the general welfare may interfere with personal
liberty, with property, and with business and occupations. Persons and property may
be subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens, in order to secure the general
comfort, health, and prosperity of the state (U.S. v. Gomer Jesus, 31 Phil., 218). To
this fundamental aim of our Government the rights of the individual are
subordinated. Liberty is a blessing without which life is a misery, but liberty should
not be made to prevail over authority because then society will fall into anarchy.
Neither should authority be made to prevail over liberty because then the individual
will fall into slavery. The citizen should achieve the required balance of liberty and
authority in his mind through education and, personal discipline, so that there may be
established the resultant equilibrium, which means peace and order and happiness for
all. The moment greater authority is conferred upon the government, logically so
much is withdrawn from the residuum of liberty which resides in the people. The
paradox lies in the fact that the apparent curtailment of liberty is precisely the very
means of insuring its preservation.
3. ID.; ID.; SOCIAL JUSTICE. Social justice is "neither communism, nor
despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy," but the humanization of laws and the
equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational
and objectively secular conception may at least be approximated. Social justice
means the promotion of the welfare of all the people, the adoption by the
Government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all the competent

27

elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social


equilibrium in the interrelations of the members of the community, constitutionally,
through the adoption of measures legally justifiable, or extra-constitutionally,
through the exercise of powers underlying the existence of all governments on the
time-honored principle of salus populi est suprema lex. Social justice, therefore,
must be founded on the recognition of the necessity of interdependence among
divers and diverse units of a society and of the protection that should be equally and
evenly extended to all groups as a combined force in our social and economic life,
consistent with the fundamental and paramount objective of the state of promoting
the health, comfort, and quiet of all persons, and of bringing about "the greatest good
to the greatest number."

DECISION

LAUREL, J.:

Maximo Calalang, in his capacity as a private citizen and as a taxpayer of Manila,


brought before this court this petition for a writ of prohibition against the
respondents, A. D. Williams, as Chairman of the National Traffic Commission;
Vicente Fragante, as Director of Public Works; Sergio Bayan, as Acting Secretary of
Public Works and Communications; Eulogio Rodriguez, as Mayor of the City of
Manila; and Juan Dominguez, as Acting Chief of Police of Manila.
It is alleged in the petition that the National Traffic Commission, in its resolution of
July 17, 1940, resolved to recommend to the Director of Public Works and to the
Secretary of Public Works and Communications that animal-drawn vehicles be
prohibited from passing along Rosario Street extending from Plaza Calderon de la
Barca to Dasmarias Street, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30
p.m.; and along Rizal Avenue extending from the railroad crossing at Antipolo Street
to Echague Street, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., from a period of one year from the date of
the opening of the Colgante Bridge to traffic; that the Chairman of the National

Traffic Commission, on July 18, 1940 recommended to the Director of Public Works
the adoption of the measure proposed in the resolution aforementioned, in pursuance
of the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 548 which authorizes said Director of
Public Works, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and
Communications, to promulgate rules and regulations to regulate and control the use
of and traffic on national roads; that on August 2, 1940, the Director of Public
Works, in his first indorsement to the Secretary of Public Works and
Communications, recommended to the latter the approval of the recommendation
made by the Chairman of the National Traffic Commission as aforesaid, with the
modification that the closing of Rizal Avenue to traffic to animal-drawn vehicles be
limited to the portion thereof extending from the railroad crossing at Antipolo Street
to Azcarraga Street; that on August 10, 1940, the Secretary of Public Works and
Communications, in his second indorsement addressed to the Director of Public
Works, approved the recommendation of the latter that Rosario Street and Rizal
Avenue be closed to traffic of animal-drawn vehicles, between the points and during
the hours as above indicated, for a period of one year from the date of the opening of
the Colgante Bridge to traffic; that the Mayor of Manila and the Acting Chief of
Police of Manila have enforced and caused to be enforced the rules and regulations
thus adopted; that as a consequence of such enforcement, all animal-drawn vehicles
are not allowed to pass and pick up passengers in the places above-mentioned to the
detriment not only of their owners but of the riding public as well.
It is contended by the petitioner that Commonwealth Act No. 548 by which the
Director of Public Works, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and
Communications, is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the regulation
and control of the use of and traffic on national roads and streets is unconstitutional
because it constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power. This contention is
untenable. As was observed by this court in Rubi v. Provincial Board of Mindoro (39
Phil, 660, 700), "The rule has nowhere been better stated than in the early Ohio case
decided by Judge Ranney, and since followed in a multitude of cases, namely: The
true distinction therefore is between the delegation of power to make the law, which
necessarily involves a discretion as to what it shall be, and conferring an authority or
discretion as to its execution, to be exercised under and in pursuance of the law. The
first cannot be done; to the latter no valid objection can be made. (Cincinnati, W. &
Z. R. Co. v. Commrs. Clinton County, 1 Ohio St., 88.) Discretion, as held by Chief
Justice Marshall in Wayman v. Southard (10 Wheat., 1) may be committed by the
Legislature to an executive department or official. The Legislature may make
decisions of executive departments or subordinate officials thereof, to whom it has
committed the execution of certain acts, final on questions of fact. (U.S. v. Kinkead,

28

248 Fed., 141.) The growing tendency in the decisions is to give prominence to the
necessity of the case."cralaw virtua1aw library
Section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 548 reads as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"SECTION 1. To promote safe transit upon, and avoid obstructions on, roads and
streets designated as national roads by acts of the National Assembly or by executive
orders of the President of the Philippines, the Director of Public Works, with the
approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, shall promulgate
the necessary rules and regulations to regulate and control the use of and traffic on
such roads and streets. Such rules and regulations, with the approval of the President,
may contain provisions controlling or regulating the construction of buildings or
other structures within a reasonable distance from along the national roads. Such
roads may be temporarily closed to any or all classes of traffic by the Director of
Public Works and his duly authorized representatives whenever the condition of the
road or the traffic thereon makes such action necessary or advisable in the public
convenience and interest, or for a specified period, with the approval of the Secretary
of Public Works and Communications."cralaw virtua1aw library
The above provisions of law do not confer legislative power upon the Director of
Public Works and the Secretary of Public Works and Communications. The authority
therein conferred upon them and under which they promulgated the rules and
regulations now complained of is not to determine what public policy demands but
merely to carry out the legislative policy laid down by the National Assembly in said
Act, to wit, "to promote safe transit upon and avoid obstructions on, roads and streets
designated as national roads by acts of the National Assembly or by executive orders
of the President of the Philippines" and to close them temporarily to any or all
classes of traffic "whenever the condition of the road or the traffic makes such action
necessary or advisable in the public convenience and interest." The delegated power,
if at all, therefore, is not the determination of what the law shall be, but merely the
ascertainment of the facts and circumstances upon which the application of said law
is to be predicated. To promulgate rules and regulations on the use of national roads
and to determine when and how long a national road should be closed to traffic, in
view of the condition of the road or the traffic thereon and the requirements of public
convenience and interest, is an administrative function which cannot be directly
discharged by the National Assembly. It must depend on the discretion of some other
government official to whom is confided the duty of determining whether the proper
occasion exists for executing the law. But it cannot be said that the exercise of such
discretion is the making of the law. As was said in Lockes Appeal (72 Pa. 491): "To

assert that a law is less than a law, because it is made to depend on a future event or
act, is to rob the Legislature of the power to act wisely for the public welfare
whenever a law is passed relating to a state of affairs not yet developed, or to things
future and impossible to fully know." The proper distinction the court said was this:
"The Legislature cannot delegate its power to make the law; but it can make a law to
delegate a power to determine some fact or state of things upon which the law
makes, or intends to make, its own action depend. To deny this would be to stop the
wheels of government. There are many things upon which wise and useful legislation
must depend which cannot be known to the law-making power, and, must, therefore,
be a subject of inquiry and determination outside of the halls of legislation." (Field v.
Clark, 143 U. S. 649, 694; 36 L. Ed. 294.)
In the case of People v. Rosenthal and Osmea, G.R. Nos. 46076 and 46077,
promulgated June 12, 1939, and in Pangasinan Transportation v. The Public Service
Commission, G.R. No. 47065, promulgated June 26, 1940, this Court had occasion
to observe that the principle of separation of powers has been made to adapt itself to
the complexities of modern governments, giving rise to the adoption, within certain
limits, of the principle of "subordinate legislation," not only in the United States and
England but in practically all modern governments. Accordingly, with the growing
complexity of modern life, the multiplication of the subjects of governmental
regulations, and the increased difficulty of administering the laws, the rigidity of the
theory of separation of governmental powers has, to a large extent, been relaxed by
permitting the delegation of greater powers by the legislative and vesting a larger
amount of discretion in administrative and executive officials, not only in the
execution of the laws, but also in the promulgation of certain rules and regulations
calculated to promote public interest.
The petitioner further contends that the rules and regulations promulgated by the
respondents pursuant to the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 548 constitute an
unlawful interference with legitimate business or trade and abridge the right to
personal liberty and freedom of locomotion. Commonwealth Act No. 548 was passed
by the National Assembly in the exercise of the paramount police power of the state.
Said Act, by virtue of which the rules and regulations complained of were
promulgated, aims to promote safe transit upon and avoid obstructions on national
roads, in the interest and convenience of the public. In enacting said law, therefore,
the National Assembly was prompted by considerations of public convenience and
welfare. It was inspired by a desire to relieve congestion of traffic. which is, to say
the least, a menace to public safety. Public welfare, then, lies at the bottom of the

29

enactment of said law, and the state in order to promote the general welfare may
interfere with personal liberty, with property, and with business and occupations.
Persons and property may be subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens, in order
to secure the general comfort, health, and prosperity of the state (U.S. v. Gomez
Jesus, 31 Phil., 218). To this fundamental aim of our Government the rights of the
individual are subordinated. Liberty is a blessing without which life is a misery, but
liberty should not be made to prevail over authority because then society will fall
into anarchy. Neither should authority be made to prevail over liberty because then
the individual will fall into slavery. The citizen should achieve the required balance
of liberty and authority in his mind through education and personal discipline, so that
there may be established the resultant equilibrium, which means peace and order and
happiness for all. The moment greater authority is conferred upon the government,
logically so much is withdrawn from the residuum of liberty which resides in the
people. The paradox lies in the fact that the apparent curtailment of liberty is
precisely the very means of insuring its preservation.
The scope of police power keeps expanding as civilization advances. As was said in
the case of Dobbins v. Los Angeles (195 U.S. 223, 238; 49 L. ed. 169), "the right to
exercise the police power is a continuing one, and a business lawful today may in the
future, because of the changed situation, the growth of population or other causes,
become a menace to the public health and welfare, and be required to yield to the
public good." And in People v. Pomar (46 Phil., 440), it was observed that
"advancing civilization is bringing within the police power of the state today things
which were not thought of as being within such power yesterday. The development
of civilization, the rapidly increasing population, the growth of public opinion, with
an increasing desire on the part of the masses and of the government to look after
and care for the interests of the individuals of the state, have brought within the
police power many questions for regulation which formerly were not so
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION

considered."cralaw virtua1aw library


The petitioner finally avers that the rules and regulations complained of infringe
upon the constitutional precept regarding the promotion of social justice to insure the
well-being and economic security of all the people. The promotion of social justice,
however, is to be achieved not through a mistaken sympathy towards any given
group. Social justice is "neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor
anarchy," but the humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic
forces by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception
may at least be approximated. Social justice means the promotion of the welfare of
all the people, the adoption by the Government of measures calculated to insure
economic stability of all the competent elements of society, through the maintenance
of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the interrelations of the members of
the community, constitutionally, through the adoption of measures legally justifiable,
or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of powers underlying the existence of
all governments on the time-honored principle of salus populi est suprema lex.
Social justice, therefore, must be founded on the recognition of the necessity of
interdependence among divers and diverse units of a society and of the protection
that should be equally and evenly extended to all groups as a combined force in our
social and economic life, consistent with the fundamental and paramount objective
of the state of promoting the health, comfort, and quiet of all persons, and of
bringing about "the greatest good to the greatest number."cralaw virtua1aw library
In view of the foregoing, the writ of prohibition prayed for is hereby denied, with
costs against the petitioner. So ordered.
Avancea, C.J., Imperial, Diaz. and Horrilleno. JJ. concur.
LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, HON. MANUEL JN. SERAPIO, Presiding Judge RTC,
Branch 127, Caloocan City, HON. MACARIO A. ASISTIO, JR., City Mayor of
Caloocan and/or THE CITY GOVERNMENT OF CALOOCAN,respondents.
Alberto N. Hidalgo and Ma. Teresa T. Oledan for petitioner.

G.R. No. 110120 March 16, 1994

The City Legal Officer & Chief, Law Department for Mayor Macario A. Asistio, Jr.
and the City Government of Caloocan.

30

ROMERO, J.:
The clash between the responsibility of the City Government of Caloocan to dispose
off the 350 tons of garbage it collects daily and the growing concern and sensitivity
to a pollution-free environment of the residents of Barangay Camarin, Tala Estate,
Caloocan City where these tons of garbage are dumped everyday is the hub of this
controversy elevated by the protagonists to the Laguna Lake Development Authority
(LLDA) for adjudication.
The instant case stemmed from an earlier petition filed with this Court by Laguna
Lake Development Authority (LLDA for short) docketed as G.R.
No. 107542 against the City Government of Caloocan, et al. In the Resolution of
November 10, 1992, this Court referred G.R. No. 107542 to the Court of Appeals for
appropriate disposition. Docketed therein as CA-G.R. SP
No. 29449, the Court of Appeals, in a decision 1 promulgated on January 29, 1993
ruled that the LLDA has no power and authority to issue a cease and desist order
enjoining the dumping of garbage in Barangay Camarin, Tala Estate, Caloocan City.
The LLDA now seeks, in this petition, a review of the decision of the Court of
Appeals.
The facts, as disclosed in the records, are undisputed.
On March 8, 1991, the Task Force Camarin Dumpsite of Our Lady of Lourdes
Parish, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City, filed a letter-complaint 2 with the Laguna
Lake Development Authority seeking to stop the operation of the 8.6-hectare open
garbage dumpsite in Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City due to its
harmful effects on the health of the residents and the possibility of pollution of the
water content of the surrounding area.

On November 15, 1991, the LLDA conducted an on-site investigation, monitoring


and test sampling of the leachate 3 that seeps from said dumpsite to the nearby creek
which is a tributary of the Marilao River. The LLDA Legal and Technical personnel
found that the City Government of Caloocan was maintaining an open dumpsite at
the Camarin area without first securing an Environmental Compliance Certificate
(ECC) from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources, as required under Presidential Decree No.
1586, 4 and clearance from LLDA as required under Republic Act No. 4850, 5 as
amended by Presidential Decree No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927, series of
1983. 6
After a public hearing conducted on December 4, 1991, the LLDA, acting on the
complaint of Task Force Camarin Dumpsite, found that the water collected from the
leachate and the receiving streams could considerably affect the quality, in turn, of
the receiving waters since it indicates the presence of bacteria, other than coliform,
which may have contaminated the sample during collection or handling. 7 On
December 5, 1991, the LLDA issued a Cease and Desist Order 8 ordering the City
Government of Caloocan, Metropolitan Manila Authority, their contractors, and
other entities, to completely halt, stop and desist from dumping any form or kind of
garbage and other waste matter at the Camarin dumpsite.
The dumping operation was forthwith stopped by the City Government of Caloocan.
However, sometime in August 1992 the dumping operation was resumed after a
meeting held in July 1992 among the City Government of Caloocan, the
representatives of Task Force Camarin Dumpsite and LLDA at the Office of
Environmental Management Bureau Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes failed to settle the
problem.
After an investigation by its team of legal and technical personnel on August 14,
1992, the LLDA issued another order reiterating the December 5, 1991, order and
issued an Alias Cease and Desist Order enjoining the City Government of Caloocan
from continuing its dumping operations at the Camarin area.
On September 25, 1992, the LLDA, with the assistance of the Philippine National
Police, enforced its Alias Cease and Desist Order by prohibiting the entry of all
garbage dump trucks into the Tala Estate, Camarin area being utilized as a dumpsite.
Pending resolution of its motion for reconsideration earlier filed on September 17,
1992 with the LLDA, the City Government of Caloocan filed with the Regional Trial
Court of Caloocan City an action for the declaration of nullity of the cease and desist

31

order with prayer for the issuance of writ of injunction, docketed as Civil Case No.
C-15598. In its complaint, the City Government of Caloocan sought to be declared as
the sole authority empowered to promote the health and safety and enhance the right
of the people in Caloocan City to a balanced ecology within its territorial
jurisdiction. 9
On September 25, 1992, the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of
Caloocan City issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the LLDA from
enforcing its cease and desist order. Subsequently, the case was raffled to the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 126 of Caloocan which, at the time, was presided over
by Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 127, the pairing
judge of the recently-retired presiding judge.
The LLDA, for its part, filed on October 2, 1992 a motion to dismiss on the ground,
among others, that under Republic Act No. 3931, as amended by Presidential Decree
No. 984, otherwise known as the Pollution Control Law, the cease and desist order
issued by it which is the subject matter of the complaint is reviewable both upon the
law and the facts of the case by the Court of Appeals and not by the Regional Trial
Court. 10
On October 12, 1992 Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio issued an order consolidating Civil
Case No. C-15598 with Civil Case No. C-15580, an earlier case filed by the Task
Force Camarin Dumpsite entitled "Fr. John Moran, et al. vs. Hon. Macario Asistio."
The LLDA, however, maintained during the trial that the foregoing cases, being
independent of each other, should have been treated separately.
On October 16, 1992, Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio, after hearing the motion to dismiss,
issued in the consolidated cases an order 11 denying LLDA's motion to dismiss and
granting the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the LLDA, its
agent and all persons acting for and on its behalf, from enforcing or implementing its
cease and desist order which prevents plaintiff City of Caloocan from dumping
garbage at the Camarin dumpsite during the pendency of this case and/or until
further orders of the court.
On November 5, 1992, the LLDA filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and
injunction with prayer for restraining order with the Supreme Court, docketed as
G.R. No. 107542, seeking to nullify the aforesaid order dated October 16, 1992
issued by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 127 of Caloocan City denying its motion
to dismiss.

The Court, acting on the petition, issued a Resolution 12 on November 10, 1992
referring the case to the Court of Appeals for proper disposition and at the same time,
without giving due course to the petition, required the respondents to comment on
the petition and file the same with the Court of Appeals within ten (10) days from
notice. In the meantime, the Court issued a temporary restraining order, effective
immediately and continuing until further orders from it, ordering the respondents: (1)
Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 127,
Caloocan City to cease and desist from exercising jurisdiction over the case for
declaration of nullity of the cease and desist order issued by the Laguna Lake
Development Authority (LLDA); and (2) City Mayor of Caloocan and/or the City
Government of Caloocan to cease and desist from dumping its garbage at the Tala
Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City.
Respondents City Government of Caloocan and Mayor Macario A. Asistio, Jr. filed
on November 12, 1992 a motion for reconsideration and/or to quash/recall the
temporary restraining order and an urgent motion for reconsideration alleging that
". . . in view of the calamitous situation that would arise if the respondent city
government fails to collect 350 tons of garbage daily for lack of dumpsite (i)t is
therefore, imperative that the issue be resolved with dispatch or with sufficient
leeway to allow the respondents to find alternative solutions to this garbage
problem."
On November 17, 1992, the Court issued a Resolution 13 directing the Court of
Appeals to immediately set the case for hearing for the purpose of determining
whether or not the temporary restraining order issued by the Court should be lifted
and what conditions, if any, may be required if it is to be so lifted or whether the
restraining order should be maintained or converted into a preliminary injunction.
The Court of Appeals set the case for hearing on November 27, 1992, at 10:00 in the
morning at the Hearing Room, 3rd Floor, New Building, Court of Appeals. 14 After
the oral argument, a conference was set on December 8, 1992 at 10:00 o'clock in the
morning where the Mayor of Caloocan City, the General Manager of LLDA, the
Secretary of DENR or his duly authorized representative and the Secretary of DILG
or his duly authorized representative were required to appear.
It was agreed at the conference that the LLDA had until December 15, 1992 to finish
its study and review of respondent's technical plan with respect to the dumping of its
garbage and in the event of a rejection of respondent's technical plan or a failure of
settlement, the parties will submit within 10 days from notice their respective
memoranda on the merits of the case, after which the petition shall be deemed

32

submitted for resolution. 15 Notwithstanding such efforts, the parties failed to settle
the dispute.
On April 30, 1993, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision holding that: (1)
the Regional Trial Court has no jurisdiction on appeal to try, hear and decide the
action for annulment of LLDA's cease and desist order, including the issuance of a
temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in relation thereto, since
appeal therefrom is within the exclusive and appellate jurisdiction of the Court of
Appeals under Section 9, par. (3), of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129; and (2) the Laguna
Lake Development Authority has no power and authority to issue a cease and desist
order under its enabling law, Republic Act No. 4850, as amended by P.D. No. 813
and Executive Order
No. 927, series of 1983.
The Court of Appeals thus dismissed Civil Case No. 15598 and the preliminary
injunction issued in the said case was set aside; the cease and desist order of LLDA
was likewise set aside and the temporary restraining order enjoining the City Mayor
of Caloocan and/or the City Government of Caloocan to cease and desist from
dumping its garbage at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City was lifted,
subject, however, to the condition that any future dumping of garbage in said area,
shall be in conformity with the procedure and protective works contained in the
proposal attached to the records of this case and found on pages 152-160 of
the Rollo, which was thereby adopted by reference and made an integral part of the
decision, until the corresponding restraining and/or injunctive relief is granted by the
proper Court upon LLDA's institution of the necessary legal proceedings.
Hence, the Laguna Lake Development Authority filed the instant petition for review
on certiorari, now docketed as G.R. No. 110120, with prayer that the temporary
restraining order lifted by the Court of Appeals be re-issued until after final
determination by this Court of the issue on the proper interpretation of the powers
and authority of the LLDA under its enabling law.
On July, 19, 1993, the Court issued a temporary restraining order 16 enjoining the
City Mayor of Caloocan and/or the City Government of Caloocan to cease and desist
from dumping its garbage at the Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City,
effective as of this date and containing until otherwise ordered by the Court.

It is significant to note that while both parties in this case agree on the need to protect
the environment and to maintain the ecological balance of the surrounding areas of
the Camarin open dumpsite, the question as to which agency can lawfully exercise
jurisdiction over the matter remains highly open to question.
The City Government of Caloocan claims that it is within its power, as a local
government unit, pursuant to the general welfare provision of the Local Government
Code, 17 to determine the effects of the operation of the dumpsite on the ecological
balance and to see that such balance is maintained. On the basis of said contention, it
questioned, from the inception of the dispute before the Regional Trial Court of
Caloocan City, the power and authority of the LLDA to issue a cease and desist order
enjoining the dumping of garbage in the Barangay Camarin over which the City
Government of Caloocan has territorial jurisdiction.
The Court of Appeals sustained the position of the City of Caloocan on the theory
that Section 7 of Presidential Decree No. 984, otherwise known as the Pollution
Control law, authorizing the defunct National Pollution Control Commission to issue
an ex-parte cease and desist order was not incorporated in Presidential Decree No.
813 nor in Executive Order No. 927, series of
1983. The Court of Appeals ruled that under Section 4, par. (d), of Republic Act No.
4850, as amended, the LLDA is instead required "to institute the necessary legal
proceeding against any person who shall commence to implement or continue
implementation of any project, plan or program within the Laguna de Bay region
without previous clearance from the Authority."
The LLDA now assails, in this partition for review, the abovementioned ruling of the
Court of Appeals, contending that, as an administrative agency which was granted
regulatory and adjudicatory powers and functions by Republic Act No. 4850 and its
amendatory laws, Presidential Decree No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927, series
of 1983, it is invested with the power and authority to issue a cease and desist order
pursuant to Section 4 par. (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) of Executive Order No. 927 series
of 1983 which provides, thus:
Sec. 4. Additional Powers and Functions. The authority shall have the following
powers and functions:
xxx xxx xxx

33

(c) Issue orders or decisions to compel compliance with the provisions of this
Executive Order and its implementing rules and regulations only after proper notice
and hearing.
(d) Make, alter or modify orders requiring the discontinuance of pollution specifying
the conditions and the time within which such discontinuance must be accomplished.
(e) Issue, renew, or deny permits, under such conditions as it may determine to be
reasonable, for the prevention and abatement of pollution, for the discharge of
sewage, industrial waste, or for the installation or operation of sewage works and
industrial disposal system or parts thereof.
(f) After due notice and hearing, the Authority may also revoke, suspend or modify
any permit issued under this Order whenever the same is necessary to prevent or
abate pollution.
(g) Deputize in writing or request assistance of appropriate government agencies or
instrumentalities for the purpose of enforcing this Executive Order and its
implementing rules and regulations and the orders and decisions of the Authority.
The LLDA claims that the appellate court deliberately suppressed and totally
disregarded the above provisions of Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983, which
granted administrative quasi-judicial functions to LLDA on pollution abatement
cases.
In light of the relevant environmental protection laws cited which are applicable in
this case, and the corresponding overlapping jurisdiction of government agencies
implementing these laws, the resolution of the issue of whether or not the LLDA has
the authority and power to issue an order which, in its nature and effect was
injunctive, necessarily requires a determination of the threshold question: Does the
Laguna Lake Development Authority, under its Charter and its amendatory laws,
have the authority to entertain the complaint against the dumping of garbage in the
open dumpsite in Barangay Camarin authorized by the City Government of Caloocan
which is allegedly endangering the health, safety, and welfare of the residents therein
and the sanitation and quality of the water in the area brought about by exposure to
pollution caused by such open garbage dumpsite?
The matter of determining whether there is such pollution of the environment that
requires control, if not prohibition, of the operation of a business establishment is
essentially addressed to the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the

DENR which, by virtue of Section 16 of Executive Order No. 192, series of


1987, 18 has assumed the powers and functions of the defunct National Pollution
Control Commission created under Republic Act No. 3931. Under said Executive
Order, a Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) under the Office of the DENR
Secretary now assumes the powers and functions of the National Pollution Control
Commission with respect to adjudication of pollution cases. 19
As a general rule, the adjudication of pollution cases generally pertains to the
Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB), except in cases where the special law provides
for another forum. It must be recognized in this regard that the LLDA, as a
specialized administrative agency, is specifically mandated under Republic Act No.
4850 and its amendatory laws to carry out and make effective the declared national
policy 20 of promoting and accelerating the development and balanced growth of the
Laguna Lake area and the surrounding provinces of Rizal and Laguna and the cities
of San Pablo, Manila, Pasay, Quezon and Caloocan 21 with due regard and adequate
provisions for environmental management and control, preservation of the quality of
human life and ecological systems, and the prevention of undue ecological
disturbances, deterioration and pollution. Under such a broad grant and power and
authority, the LLDA, by virtue of its special charter, obviously has the responsibility
to protect the inhabitants of the Laguna Lake region from the deleterious effects of
pollutants emanating from the discharge of wastes from the surrounding areas. In
carrying out the aforementioned declared policy, the LLDA is mandated, among
others, to pass upon and approve or disapprove all plans, programs, and projects
proposed by local government offices/agencies within the region, public
corporations, and private persons or enterprises where such plans, programs and/or
projects are related to those of the LLDA for the development of the region. 22
In the instant case, when the complainant Task Force Camarin Dumpsite of Our Lady
of Lourdes Parish, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City, filed its letter-complaint
before the LLDA, the latter's jurisdiction under its charter was validly invoked by
complainant on the basis of its allegation that the open dumpsite project of the City
Government of Caloocan in Barangay Camarin was undertaken without a clearance
from the LLDA, as required under Section 4, par. (d), of Republic Act. No. 4850, as
amended by P.D. No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927. While there is also an
allegation that the said project was without an Environmental Compliance Certificate
from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the DENR, the primary
jurisdiction of the LLDA over this case was recognized by the Environmental
Management Bureau of the DENR when the latter acted as intermediary at the
meeting among the representatives of the City Government of Caloocan, Task Force

34

Camarin Dumpsite and LLDA sometime in July 1992 to discuss the possibility of
re-opening the open dumpsite.
Having thus resolved the threshold question, the inquiry then narrows down to the
following issue: Does the LLDA have the power and authority to issue a "cease and
desist" order under Republic Act No. 4850 and its amendatory laws, on the basis of
the facts presented in this case, enjoining the dumping of garbage in Tala Estate,
Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City.
The irresistible answer is in the affirmative.
The cease and desist order issued by the LLDA requiring the City Government of
Caloocan to stop dumping its garbage in the Camarin open dumpsite found by the
LLDA to have been done in violation of Republic Act No. 4850, as amended, and
other relevant environment laws, 23 cannot be stamped as an unauthorized exercise by
the LLDA of injunctive powers. By its express terms, Republic Act No. 4850, as
amended by P.D. No. 813 and Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983, authorizes
the LLDA to "make, alter or modify order requiring the discontinuance or
pollution." 24(Emphasis supplied) Section 4, par. (d) explicitly authorizes the LLDA
to make whatever order may be necessary in the exercise of its jurisdiction.
To be sure, the LLDA was not expressly conferred the power "to issue and exparte cease and desist order" in a language, as suggested by the City Government of
Caloocan, similar to the express grant to the defunct National Pollution Control
Commission under Section 7 of P.D. No. 984 which, admittedly was not reproduced
in P.D. No. 813 and E.O. No. 927, series of 1983. However, it would be a mistake to
draw therefrom the conclusion that there is a denial of the power to issue the order in
question when the power "to make, alter or modify orders requiring the
discontinuance of pollution" is expressly and clearly bestowed upon the LLDA by
Executive Order No. 927, series of 1983.

Assuming arguendo that the authority to issue a "cease and desist order" were not
expressly conferred by law, there is jurisprudence enough to the effect that the rule
granting such authority need not necessarily be express.25 While it is a fundamental
rule that an administrative agency has only such powers as are expressly granted to it
by law, it is likewise a settled rule that an administrative agency has also such
powers as are necessarily implied in the exercise of its express powers. 26 In the
exercise, therefore, of its express powers under its charter as a regulatory and quasijudicial body with respect to pollution cases in the Laguna Lake region, the authority
of the LLDA to issue a "cease and desist order" is, perforce, implied. Otherwise, it
may well be reduced to a "toothless" paper agency.
In this connection, it must be noted that in Pollution Adjudication Board v. Court of
Appeals, et al., 27 the Court ruled that the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) has the
power to issue an ex-parte cease and desist order when there is prima facie evidence
of an establishment exceeding the allowable standards set by the anti-pollution laws
of the country. Theponente, Associate Justice Florentino P. Feliciano, declared:
Ex parte cease and desist orders are permitted by law and regulations in situations
like that here presented precisely because stopping the continuous discharge of
pollutive and untreated effluents into the rivers and other inland waters of the
Philippines cannot be made to wait until protracted litigation over the ultimate
correctness or propriety of such orders has run its full course, including multiple and
sequential appeals such as those which Solar has taken, which of course may take
several years. The relevant pollution control statute and implementing regulations
were enacted and promulgated in the exercise of that pervasive, sovereign power to
protect the safety, health, and general welfare and comfort of the public, as well as
the protection of plant and animal life, commonly designated as the police power. It
is a constitutional commonplace that the ordinary requirements of procedural due
process yield to the necessities of protecting vital public interests like those here
involved, through the exercise of police power. . . .
The immediate response to the demands of "the necessities of protecting vital public
interests" gives vitality to the statement on ecology embodied in the Declaration of
Principles and State Policies or the 1987 Constitution. Article II, Section 16 which
provides:
The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and
healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.

35

As a constitutionally guaranteed right of every person, it carries the correlative duty


of non-impairment. This is but in consonance with the declared policy of the state "to
protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness
among them." 28 It is to be borne in mind that the Philippines is party to the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and the Alma Conference Declaration of 1978 which
recognize health as a fundamental human right. 29
The issuance, therefore, of the cease and desist order by the LLDA, as a practical
matter of procedure under the circumstances of the case, is a proper exercise of its
power and authority under its charter and its amendatory laws. Had the cease and
desist order issued by the LLDA been complied with by the City Government of
Caloocan as it did in the first instance, no further legal steps would have been
necessary.
The charter of LLDA, Republic Act No. 4850, as amended, instead of conferring
upon the LLDA the means of directly enforcing such orders, has provided under its
Section 4 (d) the power to institute "necessary legal proceeding against any person
who shall commence to implement or continue implementation of any project, plan
or program within the Laguna de Bay region without previous clearance from the
LLDA."

Clearly, said provision was designed to invest the LLDA with sufficiently broad
powers in the regulation of all projects initiated in the Laguna Lake region, whether
by the government or the private sector, insofar as the implementation of these
projects is concerned. It was meant to deal with cases which might possibly arise
where decisions or orders issued pursuant to the exercise of such broad powers may
not be obeyed, resulting in the thwarting of its laudabe objective. To meet such
contingencies, then the writs of mandamus and injunction which are beyond the
power of the LLDA to issue, may be sought from the proper courts.
Insofar as the implementation of relevant anti-pollution laws in the Laguna Lake
region and its surrounding provinces, cities and towns are concerned, the Court will
not dwell further on the related issues raised which are more appropriately addressed
to an administrative agency with the special knowledge and expertise of the LLDA.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The temporary restraining order issued
by the Court on July 19, 1993 enjoining the City Mayor of Caloocan and/or the City
Government of Caloocan from dumping their garbage at the Tala Estate, Barangay
Camarin, Caloocan City is hereby made permanent.
SO ORDERED.
Feliciano, Bidin, Melo and Vitug, JJ., concur.

EN BANC

CARPIO,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,

SUZETTE NICOLAS y SOMBILON, G.R. No. 175888

- versus - CORONA,

Petitioner,

CARPIO MORALES,
AZCUNA,

Present:

TINGA,
CHICO-NAZARIO,

PUNO, C.J.,

VELASCO, JR.,

QUISUMBING,

NACHURA,

YNARES-SANTIAGO,

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,

36

BRION, and
PERALTA, JJ.
ALBERTO ROMULO, in his capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs; RAUL
GONZALEZ, in his capacity as Secretary of Justice; EDUARDO ERMITA, in
his capacity as Executive Secretary; RONALDO PUNO, in his capacity as
Secretary of the Interior and Local Government; SERGIO APOSTOL, in his
capacity as Presidential Legal Counsel; and L/CPL. DANIEL SMITH,

DANIEL SMITH, SECRETARY RAUL GONZALEZ, PRESIDENTIAL


LEGAL COUNSEL SERGIO APOSTOL, SECRETARY RONALDO PUNO,
SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO, The Special 16th Division of the COURT
OF APPEALS, and all persons acting in their capacity,
Respondents.

Respondents.
X - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -X
X - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -X
BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN G.R. No. 176222
(BAYAN), represented by Dr. Carol Araullo; GABRIELA, represented by
Emerenciana de Jesus; BAYAN MUNA, represented by Rep. Satur Ocampo;
GABRIELA WOMENS PARTY, represented by Rep. Liza Maza; KILUSANG
MAYO UNO (KMU), represented by Elmer Labog; KILUSANG
MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS (KMP), represented by Willy Marbella;
LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS (LFS), represented by Vencer
Crisostomo; and THE PUBLIC INTEREST LAW CENTER, represented by
Atty. Rachel Pastores,
JOVITO R. SALONGA, WIGBERTO G.R. No. 176051

Petitioners,

E. TAADA, JOSE DE LA RAMA,


EMILIO C. CAPULONG, H. HARRY
L. ROQUE, JR., FLORIN HILBAY,

- versus -

and BENJAMIN POZON,


Petitioners,

- versus -

PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in her capacity as


concurrent Defense Secretary, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO

37

ERMITA, FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO,


JUSTICE SECRETARY RAUL GONZALEZ, AND INTERIOR AND LOCAL
GOVERNMENT SECRETARY RONALDO PUNO,
Respondents. Promulgated:
February 11, 2009

X ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- X

DECISION

complaint under oath filed by Suzette S. Nicolas, which is attached hereto and made
an integral part hereof as Annex A, committed as follows:

That on or about the First (1st) day of November 2005, inside the Subic Bay Freeport
Zone, Olongapo City and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accuseds (sic), being then members of the United States Marine Corps, except
Timoteo L. Soriano, Jr., conspiring, confederating together and mutually helping one
another, with lewd design and by means of force, threat and intimidation, with abuse
of superior strength and taking advantage of the intoxication of the victim, did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sexually abuse and have sexual
intercourse with or carnal knowledge of one Suzette S. Nicolas, a 22-year old
unmarried woman inside a Starex Van with Plate No. WKF-162, owned by Starways
Travel and Tours, with Office address at 8900 P. Victor St., Guadalupe, Makati City,
and driven by accused Timoteo L. Soriano, Jr., against the will and consent of the
said Suzette S. Nicolas, to her damage and prejudice.

AZCUNA, J.:
CONTRARY TO LAW.[1]
These are petitions for certiorari, etc. as special civil actions and/or for review of the
Decision of the Court of Appeals in Lance Corporal Daniel J. Smith v. Hon.
Benjamin T. Pozon, et al., in CA-G.R. SP No. 97212, dated January 2, 2007.

The facts are not disputed.

Respondent Lance Corporal (L/CPL) Daniel Smith is a member of the United States
Armed Forces. He was charged with the crime of rape committed against a Filipina,
petitioner herein, sometime onNovember 1, 2005, as follows:

Pursuant to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Republic of


the Philippines and the United States, entered into on February 10, 1998, the United
States, at its request, was granted custody of defendant Smith pending the
proceedings.

During the trial, which was transferred from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Zambales to the RTC of Makati for security reasons, the United States Government
faithfully complied with its undertaking to bring defendant Smith to the trial court
every time his presence was required.

The undersigned accused LCpl. Daniel Smith, Ssgt. Chad Brian Carpentier, Dominic
Duplantis, Keith Silkwood and Timoteo L. Soriano, Jr. of the crime of Rape under
Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act 8353, upon a

38

On December 4, 2006, the RTC of Makati, following the end of the trial, rendered its
Decision, finding defendant Smith guilty, thus:

As a result, the Makati court ordered Smith detained at the Makati jail until further
orders.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, for failure of the prosecution to adduce


sufficient evidence against accused S/SGT. CHAD BRIAN CARPENTER, L/CPL.
KEITH SILKWOOD AND L/CPL. DOMINIC DUPLANTIS, all of the US Marine
Corps assigned at the USS Essex, are hereby ACQUITTED to the crime charged.

On December 29, 2006, however, defendant Smith was taken out of the Makati jail
by a contingent of Philippine law enforcement agents, purportedly acting under
orders of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and brought to a
facility for detention under the control of the United States government, provided for
under new agreements between the Philippines and the United States, referred to as
the Romulo-Kenney Agreement of December 19, 2006 which states:

The prosecution having presented sufficient evidence against accused L/CPL.


DANIEL J. SMITH, also of the US Marine Corps at the USS Essex, this Court
hereby finds him GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of the crime of
RAPE defined under Article 266-A, paragraph 1 (a) of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended by R.A. 8353, and, in accordance with Article 266-B, first paragraph
thereof, hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua together
with the accessory penalties provided for under Article 41 of the same Code.

Pursuant to Article V, paragraph No. 10, of the Visiting Forces Agreement entered
into by the Philippines and the United States, accused L/CPL. DANIEL J. SMITH
shall serve his sentence in the facilities that shall, thereafter, be agreed upon by
appropriate Philippine and United States authorities. Pending agreement on such
facilities, accused L/CPL. DANIEL J. SMITH is hereby temporarily committed to
the Makati City Jail.

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of


the United States of America agree that, in accordance with the Visiting Forces
Agreement signed between our two nations, Lance Corporal Daniel J. Smith, United
States Marine Corps, be returned to U.S. military custody at the U.S. Embassy in
Manila.

(Sgd.) KRISTIE A. KENNEY (Sgd.) ALBERTO G. ROMULO


Representative of the United States Representative of the Republic
of America of the Philippines

DATE: 12-19-06 DATE: December 19, 2006__


Accused L/CPL. DANIEL J. SMITH is further sentenced to indemnify complainant
SUZETTE S. NICOLAS in the amount of P50,000.00 as compensatory damages
plus P50,000.00 as moral damages.
and the Romulo-Kenney Agreement of December 22, 2006 which states:
SO ORDERED.[2]
The Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines and the
Embassy of the United States of America agree that, in accordance with the Visiting

39

Forces Agreement signed between the two nations, upon transfer of Lance Corporal
Daniel J. Smith, United States Marine Corps, from the Makati City Jail, he will be
detained at the first floor, Rowe (JUSMAG) Building, U.S. Embassy Compound in a
room of approximately 10 x 12 square feet. He will be guarded round the clock
by U.S. military personnel. The Philippine police and jail authorities, under the direct
supervision of the Philippine Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)
will have access to the place of detention to ensure the United States is in compliance
with the terms of the VFA.

The matter was brought before the Court of Appeals which decided on January 2,
2007, as follows:

Against the barriers of res judicata vis--vis Bayan, and stare decisis vis--vis all the
parties, the reversal of the previous ruling is sought on the ground that the issue is of
primordial importance, involving the sovereignty of the Republic, as well as a
specific mandate of the Constitution.

The provision of the Constitution is Art. XVIII, Sec. 25 which states:

Sec. 25. After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Philippines and
the United States of America concerning Military Bases, foreign military bases,
troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly
concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority
of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and
recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.

WHEREFORE, all the foregoing considered, we resolved to DISMISS the petition


for having become moot.[3]

Hence, the present actions.

The petitions were heard on oral arguments on September 19, 2008, after which the
parties submitted their memoranda.

Petitioners contend that the Philippines should have custody of defendant L/CPL
Smith because, first of all, the VFA is void and unconstitutional.

This issue had been raised before, and this Court resolved in favor of the
constitutionality of the VFA. This was in Bayan v. Zamora,[4] brought by Bayan, one
of petitioners in the present cases.

The reason for this provision lies in history and the Philippine experience in regard
to the United States military bases in the country.

It will be recalled that under the Philippine Bill of 1902, which laid the basis for the
Philippine Commonwealth and, eventually, for the recognition of independence, the
United States agreed to cede to the Philippines all the territory it acquired from Spain
under the Treaty of Paris, plus a few islands later added to its realm, except certain
naval ports and/or military bases and facilities, which the United States retained for
itself.

This is noteworthy, because what this means is that Clark and Subic and the other
places in the Philippines covered by the RP-US Military Bases Agreement of 1947
were not Philippine territory, as they were excluded from the cession and retained by
the US.

40

Accordingly, the Philippines had no jurisdiction over these bases except to the extent
allowed by the United States. Furthermore, the RP-US Military Bases Agreement
was never advised for ratification by the United States Senate, a disparity in
treatment, because the Philippines regarded it as a treaty and had it concurred in by
our Senate.

Subsequently, the United States agreed to turn over these bases to the Philippines;
and with the expiration of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement in 1991, the territory
covered by these bases were finally ceded to the Philippines.

To prevent a recurrence of this experience, the provision in question was adopted in


the 1987 Constitution.

The provision is thus designed to ensure that any agreement allowing the presence of
foreign military bases, troops or facilities in Philippine territory shall be equally
binding on the Philippines and the foreign sovereign State involved. The idea is to
prevent a recurrence of the situation in which the terms and conditions governing the
presence of foreign armed forces in our territory were binding upon us but not upon
the foreign State.

The fact that the VFA was not submitted for advice and consent of the United States
Senate does not detract from its status as a binding international agreement or treaty
recognized by the said State. For this is a matter of internal United States law. Notice
can be taken of the internationally known practice by the United States of submitting
to its Senate for advice and consent agreements that are policymaking in nature,
whereas those that carry out or further implement these policymaking agreements are
merely submitted to Congress, under the provisions of the so-called CaseZablocki
Act, within sixty days from ratification.[6]

The second reason has to do with the relation between the VFA and the RP-US
Mutual Defense Treaty of August 30, 1951. This earlier agreement was signed and
duly ratified with the concurrence of both the Philippine Senate and the United States
Senate.

The RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty states:[7]

MUTUAL DEFENSE TREATY BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF


THE PHILIPPINES AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Signed
at Washington, August 30, 1951.

Applying the provision to the situation involved in these cases, the question is
whether or not the presence of US Armed Forces in Philippine territory pursuant to
the VFA is allowed under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate xxx and
recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.

The Parties of this Treaty

This Court finds that it is, for two reasons.

Reaffirming their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United
Nations and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments, and
desiring to strengthen the fabric of peace in the Pacific area.

First, as held in Bayan v. Zamora,[5] the VFA was duly concurred in by the Philippine
Senate and has been recognized as a treaty by the United States as attested and
certified by the duly authorized representative of the United States government.

41

Recalling with mutual pride the historic relationship which brought their two peoples
together in a common bond of sympathy and mutual ideals to fight side-by-side
against imperialist aggression during the last war.

Desiring to declare publicly and formally their sense of unity and their common
determination to defend themselves against external armed attack, so that no
potential aggressor could be under the illusion that either of them stands alone in the
Pacific area.

Desiring further to strengthen their present efforts for collective defense for the
preservation of peace and security pending the development of a more
comprehensive system of regional security in the Pacific area.

Agreeing that nothing in this present instrument shall be considered or interpreted as


in any way or sense altering or diminishing any existing agreements or
understandings between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of
America.

Have agreed as follows:

ARTICLE I. The parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations,
to settle any international disputes in which they may be involved by peaceful means
in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered
and to refrain in their international relation from the threat or use of force in any
manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

ARTICLE II. In order more effectively to achieve the objective of this Treaty,
the Parties separately and jointly by self-help and mutual aid will maintain and
develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.

ARTICLE III. The Parties, through their Foreign Ministers or their deputies, will
consult together from time to time regarding the implementation of this Treaty and
whenever in the opinion of either of them the territorial integrity, political
independence or security of either of the Parties is threatened by external armed
attack in the Pacific.

ARTICLE IV. Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on
either of the parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that
it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional
processes.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be
immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations. Such measures
shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to
restore and maintain international peace and security.

ARTICLE V. For the purpose of Article IV, an armed attack on either of the Parties is
deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the
Parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in thePacific Ocean, its
armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.

ARTICLE VI. This Treaty does not affect and shall not be interpreted as affecting in
any way the rights and obligations of the Parties under the Charter of the United
Nations or the responsibility of the United Nations for the maintenance of
international peace and security.

ARTICLE VII. This Treaty shall be ratified by the Republic of the Philippines and
the United Nations of America in accordance with their respective constitutional

42

processes and will come into force when instruments of ratification thereof have
been exchanged by them at Manila.

ARTICLE VIII. This Treaty shall remain in force indefinitely. Either Party may
terminate it one year after notice has been given to the other party.

Clearly, therefore, joint RP-US military exercises for the purpose of developing the
capability to resist an armed attack fall squarely under the provisions of the RP-US
Mutual Defense Treaty. The VFA, which is the instrument agreed upon to provide for
the joint RP-US military exercises, is simply an implementing agreement to the main
RP-US Military Defense Treaty. The Preamble of the VFA states:

IN WITHNESS WHEREOF the undersigned Plenipotentiaries have signed this


Treaty.
The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the
Republic of the Philippines,
DONE in duplicate at Washington this thirtieth day of August, 1951.

For the Republic of the Philippines:

Reaffirming their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United
Nations and their desire to strengthen international and regional security in the
Pacific area;

(Sgd.) CARLOS P. ROMULO


(Sgd.) JOAQUIN M. ELIZALDE
(Sgd.) VICENTE J. FRANCISCO

Reaffirming their obligations under the Mutual Defense Treaty of August 30,
1951;

(Sgd.) DIOSDADO MACAPAGAL


Noting that from time to time elements of the United States armed forces may
visit the Republic of the Philippines;
For the United States of America:

(Sgd.) DEAN ACHESON

Considering that cooperation between the United States and the Republic of
the Philippines promotes their common security interests;

(Sgd.) JOHN FOSTER DULLES


(Sgd.) TOM CONNALLY
(Sgd.) ALEXANDER WILEY[8]

Recognizing the desirability of defining the treatment of United States personnel


visiting the Republic of the Philippines;

43

Have agreed as follows:[9]

Accordingly, as an implementing agreement of the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty, it


was not necessary to submit the VFA to the US Senate for advice and consent, but
merely to the US Congress under the CaseZablocki Act within 60 days of its
ratification. It is for this reason that the US has certified that it recognizes the VFA as
a binding international agreement, i.e., a treaty, and this substantially complies with
the requirements of Art. XVIII, Sec. 25 of our Constitution.[10]

The provision of Art. XVIII, Sec. 25 of the Constitution, is complied with by virtue
of the fact that the presence of the US Armed Forces through the VFA is a presence
allowed under the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty. Since the RP-US Mutual Defense
Treaty itself has been ratified and concurred in by both the Philippine Senate and the
US Senate, there is no violation of the Constitutional provision resulting from such
presence.

The VFA being a valid and binding agreement, the parties are required as a matter of
international law to abide by its terms and provisions.

6. The custody of any United States personnel over whom the Philippines is to
exercise jurisdiction shall immediately reside with United States military authorities,
if they so request, from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial
proceedings. United States military authorities shall, upon formal notification by the
Philippine authorities and without delay, make such personnel available to those
authorities in time for any investigative or judicial proceedings relating to the offense
with which the person has been charged. In extraordinary cases, the Philippine
Government shall present its position to the United States Government regarding
custody, which the United States Government shall take into full account. In the
event Philippine judicial proceedings are not completed within one year, the United
States shall be relieved of any obligations under this paragraph. The one year period
will not include the time necessary to appeal. Also, the one year period will not
include any time during which scheduled trial procedures are delayed because United
States authorities, after timely notification by Philippine authorities to arrange for the
presence of the accused, fail to do so.

Petitioners contend that these undertakings violate another provision of the


Constitution, namely, that providing for the exclusive power of this Court to adopt
rules of procedure for all courts in the Philippines (Art. VIII, Sec. 5[5]). They argue
that to allow the transfer of custody of an accused to a foreign power is to provide for
a different rule of procedure for that accused, which also violates the equal protection
clause of the Constitution (Art. III, Sec. 1.).

The VFA provides that in cases of offenses committed by the members of the US
Armed Forces in the Philippines, the following rules apply:

Again, this Court finds no violation of the Constitution.

Article V

The equal protection clause is not violated, because there is a substantial basis for a
different treatment of a member of a foreign military armed forces allowed to enter
our territory and all other accused.[11]

Criminal Jurisdiction

xxx

The rule in international law is that a foreign armed forces allowed to enter ones
territory is immune from local jurisdiction, except to the extent agreed upon. The
Status of Forces Agreements involving foreign military units around the world vary
in terms and conditions, according to the situation of the parties involved, and reflect

44

their bargaining power. But the principle remains, i.e., the receiving State can
exercise jurisdiction over the forces of the sending State only to the extent agreed
upon by the parties.[12]

As a result, the situation involved is not one in which the power of this Court to
adopt rules of procedure is curtailed or violated, but rather one in which, as is
normally encountered around the world, the laws (including rules of procedure) of
one State do not extend or apply except to the extent agreed upon to subjects of
another State due to the recognition of extraterritorial immunity given to such bodies
as visiting foreign armed forces.

Nothing in the Constitution prohibits such agreements recognizing immunity from


jurisdiction or some aspects of jurisdiction (such as custody), in relation to longrecognized subjects of such immunity like Heads of State, diplomats and members of
the armed forces contingents of a foreign State allowed to enter another States
territory. On the contrary, the Constitution states that the Philippines adopts the
generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land. (Art.
II, Sec. 2).

Applying, however, the provisions of VFA, the Court finds that there is a different
treatment when it comes to detention as against custody. The moment the accused
has to be detained, e.g., after conviction, the rule that governs is the following
provision of the VFA:

Article V

appropriate Philippines and United States authorities. United States personnel


serving sentences in the Philippines shall have the right to visits and material
assistance.

It is clear that the parties to the VFA recognized the difference between custody
during the trial and detention after conviction, because they provided for a specific
arrangement to cover detention. And this specific arrangement clearly states not only
that the detention shall be carried out in facilities agreed on by authorities of both
parties, but also that the detention shall be by Philippine authorities. Therefore, the
Romulo-Kenney Agreements of December 19 and 22, 2006, which are agreements
on the detention of the accused in the United States Embassy, are not in accord
with the VFA itself because such detention is not by Philippine authorities.

Respondents should therefore comply with the VFA and negotiate with
representatives of the United States towards an agreement on detention facilities
under Philippine authorities as mandated by Art. V, Sec. 10 of the VFA.

Next, the Court addresses the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court
in Medellin v. Texas ( 552 US ___ No. 06-984, March 25, 2008), which held that
treaties entered into by the United States are not automatically part of their domestic
law unless these treaties are self-executing or there is an implementing legislation to
make them enforceable.

On February 3, 2009, the Court issued a Resolution, thus:

Criminal Jurisdiction

xxx
Sec. 10. The confinement or detention by Philippine authorities of United
States personnel shall be carried out in facilities agreed on by

G.R. No. 175888 (Suzette Nicolas y Sombilon v. Alberto Romulo, et al.); G.R. No.
176051 (Jovito R. Salonga, et al. v. Daniel Smith, et al.); and G.R. No. 176222
(Bagong Alyansang Makabayan [BAYAN], et al. v. President Gloria MacapagalArroyo, et al.).

45

The parties, including the Solicitor General, are required to submit within three (3)
days a Comment/Manifestation on the following points:

1.
What is the implication on the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement of the
recent US Supreme Court decision in Jose Ernesto Medellin v. Texas, dated March
25, 2008, to the effect that treaty stipulations that are not self-executory can only be
enforced pursuant to legislation to carry them into effect; and that, while treaties may
comprise international commitments, they are not domestic law unless Congress has
enacted implementing statutes or the treaty itself conveys an intention that it be selfexecutory and is ratified on these terms?

2.
Whether the VFA is enforceable in the US as domestic law, either
because it is self-executory or because there exists legislation to implement it.

3.
Whether the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty of August 30, 1951 was
concurred in by the US Senate and, if so, is there proof of the US Senate advice and
consent resolution? Peralta, J., no part.

After deliberation, the Court holds, on these points, as follows:

First, the VFA is a self-executing Agreement, as that term is defined


in Medellin itself, because the parties intend its provisions to be enforceable,
precisely because the Agreement is intended to carry out obligations and
undertakings under the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty. As a matter of fact, the VFA
has been implemented and executed, with the US faithfully complying with its
obligation to produce L/CPL Smith before the court during the trial.

Secondly, the VFA is covered by implementing legislation, namely, the CaseZablocki Act, USC Sec. 112(b), inasmuch as it is the very purpose and intent of the
US Congress that executive agreements registered under this Act within 60 days
from their ratification be immediately implemented. The parties to these present
cases do not question the fact that the VFA has been registered under the CaseZablocki Act.

In sum, therefore, the VFA differs from the Vienna Convention on Consular
Relations and the Avena decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), subject
matter of the Medellin decision. The Convention and the ICJ decision are not selfexecuting and are not registrable under the Case-Zablocki Act, and thus lack
legislative implementing authority.

Finally, the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty was advised and consented to by the US
Senate on March 20, 1952, as reflected in the US Congressional Record,
82nd Congress, Second Session, Vol. 98 Part 2, pp. 2594-2595.

The framers of the Constitution were aware that the application of international law
in domestic courts varies from country to country.

As Ward N. Ferdinandusse states in his Treatise, DIRECT APPLICATION OF


INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW IN NATIONAL COURTS, some countries
require legislation whereas others do not.

It was not the intention of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, in adopting Article
XVIII, Sec. 25, to require the other contracting State to convert their system to
achieve alignment and parity with ours.It was simply required that the treaty be
recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State. With that, it becomes for both
parties a binding international obligation and the enforcement of that obligation is
left to the normal recourse and processes under international law.

46

Furthermore, as held by the US Supreme Court in Weinberger v. Rossi,[13] an


executive agreement is a treaty within the meaning of that word in international law
and constitutes enforceable domestic law vis--vis the United States. Thus, the US
Supreme Court in Weinberger enforced the provisions of the executive agreement
granting preferential employment to Filipinos in the US Bases here.

Accordingly, there are three types of treaties in the American system:

1.
Art. II, Sec. 2 treaties These are advised and consented to by the US
Senate in accordance with Art. II, Sec. 2 of the US Constitution.

2.
ExecutiveCongressional Agreements: These are joint agreements of the
President and Congress and need not be submitted to the Senate.

3.
Sole Executive Agreements. These are agreements entered into by the
President. They are to be submitted to Congress within sixty (60) days of ratification
under the provisions of the Case-Zablocki Act, after which they are recognized by
the Congress and may be implemented.

As regards the implementation of the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty, military aid or
assistance has been given under it and this can only be done through implementing
legislation. The VFA itself is another form of implementation of its provisions.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are PARTLY GRANTED, and the Court of Appeals
Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 97212 dated January 2, 2007 is MODIFIED. The
Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Republic of the Philippines and the
United States, entered into on February 10, 1998, is UPHELD as constitutional, but
the Romulo-Kenney Agreements of December 19 and 22, 2006 areDECLARED not
in accordance with the VFA, and respondent Secretary of Foreign Affairs is hereby
ordered to forthwith negotiate with the United States representatives for the
appropriate agreement on detention facilities under Philippine authorities as provided
in Art. V, Sec. 10 of the VFA, pending which the status quo shall be maintained until
further orders by this Court.

The Court of Appeals is hereby directed to resolve without delay the related matters
pending therein, namely, the petition for contempt and the appeal of L/CPL Daniel
Smith from the judgment of conviction.

No costs.

47