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DISSENTINGOPINION

Locus standi or legal standing has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in a case such that the
party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged.
(Galicto vs Aquino III, GR. No. 193978, Feb. 28, 2012)

TINSAY,J:
Idissent.
Treescannotberepresented.TheTreeLovershavenostandingbecauseSection1,Rule3
oftheRulesofCourtrequirespartiestoanactiontobeeithernaturalorjuridicalpersons.
Thelawisdevisedtoaffordaremedyiflegalrightsarebreached.Thus,remediesare
related directlyto rights andonlythose whoserights areinvolvedare entitledto be
awardedaremedybythecourt.Tobringacasebeforethecourt,itisnecessarytohave
legalstandingwhichisreferredtoaslocusstandi.Thatis,thecourtrecognizesthe
person/sasanappropriatepartytobringacourtactioninamatterbecauseitistheir
rightsinvolved.
Therationaleforthisconstitutionalconditionoflocusstandiisbynomeanstrifle.Not
onlydoesitguaranteethevitaladversarypresentationofthecase;moreimportantly,it
must serve to merit the Judiciarys overruling the determination of a coordinate,
democraticallyelectedorganofgovernment,suchasthePresident,andtheclearapproval
byCongress,inthiscase.Indeed,therationalegoestotheveryessenceofrepresentative
democracies
Neithercanthelackoflocusstandibecuredbythepetitionersclaimthatenvironmental
caseshavebeengivenamoreliberalizedapproach.
While the petition raises vital constitutional and statutory questions concerning
EnvironmentalCaseswhichallowforacitizensuitandpermitanyFilipinocitizentofile
anactionbeforeourcourtsforviolationsofourenvironmentallaws,thesamecannot
infuse or give the petitioner locus standi under the transcendental importance or
paramountpublicinterestdoctrineInOposav.Facturan,theSupremeCourtallowedthe
suit to be brought in the name of generations yet unborn based on the concept of
intergenerationalresponsibilityinsofarastherighttoabalancedandhealthfulecology
isconcernedwhereinitwasgivenamoreliberalizedapproachonthestringentlocus
standirequirement,suchheroiceffortwouldbefutilebecausethetranscendentalissue
couldnotberesolvedanyway,duetoproceduralinfirmitiesandshortcomings,asin
thepresentcase.

Likethis,givingduecoursetothepresentpetitionwhichisburdenedwithformaland
proceduralinfirmitiescannotbutbeanexerciseinfutilitythatdoesnotmerittheCourts
liberality.AsweemphasizedinLozanov.Nograles,whiletheCourthastakenan
increasinglyliberalapproachtotheruleoflocusstandi,evolvingfromthestringent
requirements of personal injury to the broader transcendental importance
doctrine,suchliberalityisnottobeabused.
Rightsareinterpretedasthelevelofpersonalorspecialinterestapersonhasinacase
and they therefore determine an applicants eligibility to standing before the court.
Thus,ifapersonslegalrighthasbeenbreached,ortherehasbeenabreachofalegal
righttheyhaveaspecialinterestin,thentheycanbringthemattertocourt.
Apersonoragroupmighthaveaverystrongbelieforemotionalconcernregardingthe
preservationoftheenvironment.Eventhoughinageneralsensethatiswhatwewould
callaspecialinterest,itisntwhatthecourtswouldconsideraspecialinterest.
StandingisgovernedbytherealpartiesininterestruleascontainedinSection2,Rule
3ofthe1997RulesofCivilProcedure,asamended.Itstipulatesthateveryactionmust
beprosecutedordefendedinthenameoftherealpartyininterest.Thus,therealparty
ininterestisthepartywhostandstobebenefitedorinjuredbythejudgmentinthesuit
orthepartyentitledtotheavailsofthesuit.Therealpartyininterestisthepeople.Thus
anyactionshouldbebroughtbyapersonorinbehalfofanotherpersonentitledtosuch
rightorinbehalfofthegenerationsyettobeborn,aswhathasbeengrantedincaseof
Oposavs.Factoranbutsurelynotinbehalfoftrees.
Furthermore,themajoritysopinionotherthanthenotionthat inanimateobjectsare
sometimes parties in litigationdoes not provide clear legal basis for trees to be
represented.TreeshavinglocusstandiisneitherpresentlyprovidedinourRulesofCourt
norfoundinanystatuteorprovisionoftheConstitution.
Environmentallawsarecreatedinordertoprotecttherightofthepeopletoahealthy
environmentandnotfortheenforcementtotherightoftheenvironment.
Thiscaseleavesthiscourtopentojustifiablecriticismongrantingthattreeshavelegal
standingorlocusstandi.
Worse, it puts pressure on all trial courts that will be predictably be deluged with
petitionsonthebasisofsubstantialjustificationonthenotionthatanimalsorevennon
livingobjectshavelocusstandi.
Thismaybeaproceduralissuebuttheparamountimportanceofthiscasedemandsstrict
interpretation of the rules. A liberal interpretation of the rules is not a magical

incantation,leastthiscourtmostrespectfullyriskitselftobejudgedbyhistoryandbe
immortalizedbycriticism.