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1. The private respondents spouses Sanson filed with the Aklan

MCTC a complaint for forcible entry and damages with a prayer
for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction
against the petitioners and other John Does numbering about

2. The private respondents alleged in their complaint that: (1)

they are the registered owners of the disputed land; (2) they were
the disputed land’s prior possessors when the petitioners – armed
with bolos and carrying suspected firearms and together with
unidentified persons – entered the disputed land by force and
intimidation, without the private respondents’ permission and
against the objections of the private respondents’ security men,
and built thereon a nipa and bamboo structure.

3. In their Answer, the petitioners denied the material allegations

and essentially claimed that: (1) they are the actual and prior
possessors of the disputed land; (2) on the contrary, the private
respondents are the intruders; and (3) the private respondents’
certificate of title to the disputed property is spurious. They asked
for the dismissal of the complaint and interposed a counterclaim
for damages.

4. The MCTC, after due proceedings, rendered a decision in the

private respondents’ favor, finding prior possession through the
construction of perimeter fence in 1993.

5. The petitioners appealed the MCTC decision to RTC.

6. On appeal, Judge Marin granted the private respondents’

motion for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory
injunction upon posting of a bond. The writ – authorizing the
immediate implementation of the MCTC decision – was actually
issued by respondent Judge del Rosario after the private
respondents had complied with the imposed condition. The
petitioners moved to reconsider the issuance of the writ; the
private respondents, on the other hand, filed a motion for

7. The respondent Judge subsequently denied the petitioners’ MR

and to Defer Enforcement of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction.

8. Meanwhile, the petitioners opposed the motion for demolition.

The respondent Judge nevertheless issued via a Special Order a
writ of demolition to be implemented fifteen (15) days after the
Sheriff’s written notice to the petitioners to voluntarily demolish
their house/s to allow the private respondents to effectively take
actual possession of the land.

9. The petitioners thereafter filed a Petition for Review of the

Permanent Mandatory Injunction and Order of Demolition in CA.

10. Meanwhile, respondent Sheriff issued the Notice to Vacate

and for Demolition. Hence, the present petition for certiorari with
writs of amparo and habeas data.

ISSUE: W/N petition for certiorari with writ of amparo and habeas
data is proper

No. We find the petitions for certiorari and issuance of a writ of
habeas data fatally defective, both in substance and in form. The
petition for the issuance of the writ of amparo, on the other hand,
is fatally defective with respect to content and substance.

Based on the outlined material antecedents that led to the

petition, that the petition for certiorari to nullify the assailed RTC
orders has been filed out of time. Based on the same material
antecedents, we find too that the petitioners have been guilty of
willful and deliberate misrepresentation before this Court and, at
the very least, of forum shopping. In sum, the petition for
certiorari should be dismissed for the cited formal deficiencies, for
violation of the non-forum shopping rule, for having been filed out
of time, and for substantive deficiencies.

To start off with the basics, the writ of amparo was originally
conceived as a response to the extraordinary rise in the number of
killings and enforced disappearances, and to the perceived lack of
available and effective remedies to address these extraordinary
concerns. It is intended to address violations of or threats to the
rights to life, liberty or security, as an extraordinary and
independent remedy beyond those available under the prevailing
Rules, or as a remedy supplemental to these Rules. What it is not,
is a writ to protect concerns that are purely property or
commercial. Neither is it a writ that we shall issue on amorphous
and uncertain grounds. Consequently, the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo – in line with the extraordinary character of the writ and
the reasonable certainty that its issuance demands – requires that
every petition for the issuance of the Writ must be supported by
justifying allegations of fact.

On the whole, what is clear from these statements – both sworn

and unsworn – is the overriding involvement of property issues as
the petition traces its roots to questions of physical possession of
the property disputed by the private parties. If at all, issues
relating to the right to life or to liberty can hardly be discerned
except to the extent that the occurrence of past violence has been
alleged. The right to security, on the other hand, is alleged only to
the extent of the threats and harassments implied from the
presence of “armed men bare to the waist” and the alleged
pointing and firing of weapons. Notably, none of the supporting
affidavits compellingly show that the threat to the rights to life,
liberty and security of the petitioners is imminent or is continuing.

These allegations obviously lack what the Rule on Writ of Habeas

Data requires as a minimum, thus rendering the petition fatally
deficient. Specifically, we see no concrete allegations of
unjustified or unlawful violation of the right to privacy related to
the right to life, liberty or security. The petition likewise has not
alleged, much less demonstrated, any need for information under
the control of police authorities other than those it has already set
forth as integral annexes. The necessity or justification for the
issuance of the writ, based on the insufficiency of previous efforts
made to secure information, has not also been shown. In sum, the
prayer for the issuance of a writ of habeas data is nothing more
than the “fishing expedition” that this Court – in the course of
drafting the Rule on habeas data – had in mind in defining what
the purpose of a writ of habeas data is not. In these lights, the
outright denial of the petition for the issuance of the writ of
habeas data is fully in order. PETITION DENIED.



Petitioner Christina had an amorous relationship with

Marcelino and eventually became pregnant with the latter’s child
without the benefit of marriage. After getting pregnant, Christina
mislead Marcelino into believing that she had an abortion when in
fact she proceeded to complete the term of her pregnancy. During
this time, she intended to have the child adopted through Sun and
Moon Home for Children in Parañaque City.

On July 26, 2009, Christina gave birth to Baby Julian at

Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, Marikina City. Sun
and Moon shouldered all the hospital and medical expenses. On
August 13, 2009, Christina voluntarily surrendered Baby Julian by
way of a Deed of Voluntary Commitment to the DSWD.

On November 27, 2009, the DSWD, a certificate was

issued declaring Baby Julian as “Legally Available for Adoption.”
On February 5, 2010, Baby Julian was “matched” with Spouses
Medina and supervised trial custody was then commenced.

On May 5, 2010, Christina who had changed her mind

about the adoption, wrote a letter to the DSWD asking for the
suspension of Baby Julian’s adoption proceedings. She also said
she wanted her family back together.

On May 28, 2010, the DSWD, through respondent Atty.

Segui, sent a Memorandum to DSWD Assistant Secretary Cabrera
informing her that the certificate declaring Baby Julian legally
available for adoption had attained finality on November 13,
2009, or three months after Christina signed the Deed of
Voluntary Commitment which terminated her parental authority
and effectively made Baby Julian a ward of the State.

On July 27, 2010, Christina filed a petition for the

issuance of a writ of amparo before the RTC seeking to obtain
custody of Baby Julian from DSWD.


Whether or not a petition for a writ of amparo is the

proper recourse for obtaining parental authority and custody of a
minor child.


The Court held that the availment of the remedy of writ of

amparo is not proper as there was no enforced disappearance in
this case.

As to what constitutes “enforced disappearance,” the

Court in Navia v. Pardico enumerated the elements constituting
“enforced disappearances” as the term is statutorily defined in
Section 3(g) of R.A. No. 9851 to wit:

That there be an arrest, detention, abduction or any form of

deprivation of liberty;
That it be carried out by, or with the authorization, support or
acquiescence of, the State or a political organization;
That it be followed by the State or political organization’s refusal
to acknowledge or give information on the fate or whereabouts of
the person subject of the amparo petition; and,
That the intention for such refusal is to remove subject person
from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.
The Court held that there was no enforced disappearance
because the respondent DSWD officers never concealed Baby
Julian’s whereabouts. In fact, Christina obtained a copy of the
DSWD’s Memorandum explicitly stating that Baby Julian was in
the custody of the Medina Spouses when she filed her petition
before the RTC. Besides, she even admitted in her petition that
the respondent DSWD officers presented Baby Julian before the
RTC during the hearing. There is therefore, no “enforced
disappearance” as used in the context of the Amparo rule as the
third and fourth elements are missing.

Christina’s directly accusing the respondents of forcibly

separating her from her child and placing the latter up for
adoption, supposedly without complying with the necessary legal
requisites to qualify the child for adoption, clearly indicates that
she is not searching for a lost child but asserting her parental
authority over the child and contesting custody over him.

Since it is extant from the pleadings filed that what is

involved is the issue of child custody and the exercise of parental
rights over a child, who, for all intents and purposes, has been
legally considered a ward of the State, the Amparo rule cannot be
properly applied.

Rhonda Vivares vs St. Theresa’s College

FACTS: In January 2012, Angela Tan, a high school student at St. Theresa’s College (STC),
uploaded on Facebook several pictures of her and her classmates (Nenita Daluz and Julienne
Suzara) wearing only their undergarments.

Thereafter, some of their classmates reported said photos to their teacher, Mylene Escudero.
Escudero, through her students, viewed and downloaded said pictures. She showed the said
pictures to STC’s Discipline-in-Charge for appropriate action.
Later, STC found Tan et al to have violated the student’s handbook and banned them from
“marching” in their graduation ceremonies scheduled in March 2012.

The issue went to court but despite a TRO (temporary restraining order) granted by the Cebu
RTC enjoining the school from barring the students in the graduation ceremonies, STC still
barred said students.

Subsequently, Rhonda Vivares, mother of Nenita, and the other mothers filed a petition for
the issuance of the writ of habeas data against the school. They argued, among others, that:

1. The privacy setting of their children’s Facebook accounts was set at “Friends Only.” They,
thus, have a reasonable expectation of privacy which must be respected.

2. The photos accessed belong to the girls and, thus, cannot be used and reproduced
without their consent. Escudero, however, violated their rights by saving digital copies of the
photos and by subsequently showing them to STC’s officials. Thus, the Facebook accounts of
the children were intruded upon;

3. The intrusion into the Facebook accounts, as well as the copying of information, data, and
digital images happened at STC’s Computer Laboratory;

They prayed that STC be ordered to surrender and deposit with the court all soft and printed
copies of the subject data and have such data be declared illegally obtained in violation of
the children’s right to privacy.

The Cebu RTC eventually denied the petition. Hence, this appeal.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petition for writ of habeas data is proper.

HELD: Yes, it is proper but in this case, it will not prosper.

Contrary to the arguments of STC, the Supreme Court ruled that:

1. The petition for writ of habeas data can be availed of even if this is not a case of
extralegal killing or enforced disappearance; and

2. The writ of habeas data can be availed of against STC even if it is not an entity engaged in
the business of “gathering, collecting, or storing data or information regarding the person,
family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved party”.

First, the Rule on Habeas Data does not state that it can be applied only in cases of
extralegal killings or enforced disappearances. Second, nothing in the Rule would suggest
that the habeas data protection shall be available only against abuses of a person or entity
engaged in the business of gathering, storing, and collecting of data.

Right to Privacy on Social Media (Online Networking Sites)

The Supreme Court ruled that if an online networking site (ONS) like Facebook has privacy
tools, and the user makes use of such privacy tools, then he or she has a reasonable
expectation of privacy (right to informational privacy, that is). Thus, such privacy must be
respected and protected.
In this case, however, there is no showing that the students concerned made use of such
privacy tools. Evidence would show that that their post (status) on Facebook were published
as “Public”.

Facebook has the following settings to control as to who can view a user’s posts on his
“wall” (profile page):

(a) Public – the default setting; every Facebook user can view the photo;

(b) Friends of Friends – only the user’s Facebook friends and their friends can view the

(c) Friends – only the user’s Facebook friends can view the photo;

(d) Custom – the photo is made visible only to particular friends and/or networks of the
Facebook user; and

(e) Only Me – the digital image can be viewed only by the user.

The default setting is “Public” and if a user wants to have some privacy, then he must choose
any setting other than “Public”. If it is true that the students concerned did set the posts
subject of this case so much so that only five people can see them (as they claim), then how
come most of their classmates were able to view them. This fact was not refuted by them. In
fact, it was their classmates who informed and showed their teacher, Escudero, of the said
pictures. Therefore, it appears that Tan et al never use the privacy settings of Facebook
hence, they have no reasonable expectation of privacy on the pictures of them scantily clad.

STC did not violate the students’ right to privacy. The manner which the school gathered the
pictures cannot be considered illegal. As it appears, it was the classmates of the students
who showed the picture to their teacher and the latter, being the recipient of said pictures,
merely delivered them to the proper school authority and it was for a legal purpose, that is,
to discipline their students according to the standards of the school (to which the students
and their parents agreed to in the first place because of the fact that they enrolled their
children there).


The established facts show that Tagitis, a consultant for the World Bank and the Senior Honorary
Counselor for the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Scholarship Programme, was last seen in Jolo, Sulu.
Together with Arsimin Kunnong (Kunnong), an IDB scholar, Tagitis arrived in Jolo by boat in the early
morning of October 31, 2007 from a seminar in Zamboanga City. They immediately checked-in at ASY
Pension House. Tagitis asked Kunnong to buy him a boat ticket for his return trip the following day to
Zamboanga. When Kunnong returned from this errand, Tagitis was no longer around. The receptionist
related that Tagitis went out to buy food at around 12:30 in the afternoon and even left his room key
with the desk. Kunnong looked for Tagitis and even sent a text message to the latter’s Manila-based
secretary who did not know of Tagitis’ whereabouts and activities either; she advised Kunnong to simply

On November 4, 2007, Kunnong and Muhammad Abdulnazeir N. Matli, a UP professor of Muslim studies
and Tagitis’ fellow student counselor at the IDB, reported Tagitis’ disappearance to the Jolo Police
Station. On November 7, 2007, Kunnong executed a sworn affidavit attesting to what he knew of the
circumstances surrounding Tagitis’ disappearance.


Whether or not the privilege of the Writ of Amparo should be extended to

Engr. Morced Tagitis.


The disappearance of Engr. Morced Tagitis is classified as an enforced

disappearance, thus the privilege of the Writ of Amparo applies.

Under the UN Declaration enforced disappearance as "the arrest,

detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of
the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization,
support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge
the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of
the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of
the law." Under this definition, the elements that constitute enforced
disappearance are essentially fourfold:

(a) arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation of liberty;

(b) carried out by agents of the State or persons or groups of persons acting
with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State;

(c) followed by a refusal to acknowledge the detention, or a concealment of

the fate of the disappeared person;

(d) placement of the disappeared person outside the protection of the law.
There was no direct evidence indicating how the victim actually
disappeared. The direct evidence at hand only shows that Tagitis went out
of the ASY Pension House after depositing his room key with the hotel desk
and was never seen nor heard of again. The undisputed conclusion,
however, from all concerned – the petitioner, Tagitis’ colleagues and even
the police authorities – is that Tagistis disappeared under mysterious
circumstances and was never seen again.

A petition for the Writ of Amparo shall be signed and verified and shall
allege, among others (in terms of the portions the petitioners cite):

(c) The right to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party violated or
threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of the respondent,
and how such threat or violation is committed with the attendant
circumstances detailed in supporting affidavits;

(d) The investigation conducted, if any, specifying the names, personal

circumstances, and addresses of the investigating authority or individuals,
as well as the manner and conduct of the investigation, together with any
report;(e) The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to determine
the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party and the identity of the
person responsible for the threat, act or omission.

The framers of the Amparo Rule never intended Section 5(c) to be complete
in every detail in stating the threatened or actual violation of a victim’s
rights. As in any other initiatory pleading, the pleader must of course state
the ultimate facts constituting the cause of action, omitting the evidentiary
details.76 In an Amparo petition, however, this requirement must be read
in light of the nature and purpose of the proceeding, which addresses a
situation of uncertainty; the petitioner may not be able to describe with
certainty how the victim exactly disappeared, or who actually acted to
kidnap, abduct or arrest him or her, or where the victim is detained,
because these information may purposely be hidden or covered up by those
who caused the disappearance. In this type of situation, to require the level
of specificity, detail and precision that the petitioners apparently want to
read into the Amparo Rule is to make this Rule a token gesture of judicial
concern for violations of the constitutional rights to life, liberty and

To read the Rules of Court requirement on pleadings while addressing the

unique Amparo situation, the test in reading the petition should be to
determine whether it contains the details available to the petitioner under
the circumstances, while presenting a cause of action showing a violation of
the victim’s rights to life, liberty and security through State or private party
action. The petition should likewise be read in its totality, rather than in
terms of its isolated component parts, to determine if the required elements
– namely, of the disappearance, the State or private action, and the actual
or threatened violations of the rights to life, liberty or security – are

The properly pleaded ultimate facts within the pleader’s knowledge about
Tagitis’ disappearance, the participation by agents of the State in this
disappearance, the failure of the State to release Tagitis or to provide
sufficient information about his whereabouts, as well as the actual violation
of his right to liberty. Thus, the petition cannot be faulted for any failure in
its statement of a cause of action.


Based on these considerations, we conclude that Col. Kasim’s disclosure,

made in an unguarded moment, unequivocally point to some government
complicity in the disappearance. The consistent but unfounded denials and
the haphazard investigations cannot but point to this conclusion. For why
would the government and its officials engage in their chorus of
concealment if the intent had not been to deny what they already knew of
the disappearance? Would not an in-depth and thorough investigation that
at least credibly determined the fate of Tagitis be a feather in the
government’s cap under the circumstances of the disappearance? From this
perspective, the evidence and developments, particularly the Kasim
evidence, already establish a concrete case of enforced disappearance that
the Amparo Rule covers. From the prism of the UN Declaration, heretofore
cited and quoted, evidence at hand and the developments in this case
confirm the fact of the enforced disappearance and government complicity,
under a background of consistent and unfounded government denials and
haphazard handling. The disappearance as well effectively placed Tagitis
outside the protection of the law – a situation that will subsist unless this
Court acts.

Given their mandates, the PNP and PNP-CIDG officials and members were
the ones who were remiss in their duties when the government completely
failed to exercise the extral.'

To fully enforce the Amparo remedy, we refer this case back to the CA for
appropriate proceedings directed at the monitoring of the PNP and the
PNP-CIDG investigations and actions, and the validation of their results
through hearings the CA may deem appropriate to conduct.


FACTS:Petitioner is an American citizen of Filipino descent. While in the

U.S., Roxas enrolled in an exposure program to thePhilippine with the
group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-United States of America (BAYAN-
USA). During the course ofher immersion, she toured various provinces
and towns in Central Luzon. She volunteered to join members of BAYAN-
Tarlac in conducting an initial health survey in La Paz, Tarlac for a future
medical mission Suddenly, fifteen (15) heavily armed men forcibly opened
the door, barged inside and ordered petitioner and her companions to lie
on the ground face down.[12] The armed men were all in civilian clothes
and, with the exception of their leader, were also wearing bonnets to
conceal their faces.[13]
Petitioner tried to protest the intrusion, but five (5) of the armed men
ganged up on her and tied her hands.[14] At this juncture, petitioner saw
the other armed men herding Carabeo and Jandoc, already blindfolded and
taped at their mouths, to a nearby blue van. Petitioner started to shout her
name.[15] Against her vigorous resistance, the armed men dragged
petitioner towards the vanbruising her arms, legs and knees.[16] Once
inside the van, but before she can be blindfolded, petitioner was able to see
the face of one of the armed men sitting beside her.[17] The van then sped

After about an hour of traveling, the van stopped.[18] Petitioner, Carabeo

and Jandoc were ordered to alight.[19] After she was informed that she is
being detained for being a member of the Communist Party of the
Philippines-New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA), petitioner was separated from
her companions and was escorted to a room that she believed was a jail cell
from the sound of its metal doors.[20] From there, she could hear the
sounds of gunfire, the noise of planes taking off and landing and some
construction bustle.[21] She inferred that she was taken to the military
camp of Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija.[22]

What followed was five (5) straight days of interrogation coupled with
torture.[23] The thrust of the interrogations was to convince petitioner to
abandon her communist beliefs in favor of returning to the fold.[24] The
torture, on the other hand, consisted of taunting, choking, boxing and
suffocating the petitioner.[25]

Throughout the entirety of her ordeal, petitioner was made to suffer in

blindfolds even in her sleep.[26] Petitioner was only relieved of her
blindfolds when she was allowed to take a bath, during which she became
acquainted with a woman named Rose who bathed her.[27] There were also
a few times when she cheated her blindfold and was able to peek at her
Ruling: Cognizant of this situation, however, the Amparo Rule placed a
potent safeguardrequiring the respondent who is a public official or
employee to prove that no less than extraordinary diligence as required by
applicable laws, rules and regulations was observed in the performance of
duty.[130] Thus, unless and until any of the public respondents is able to
show to the satisfaction of the amparo court that extraordinary diligence
has been observed in their investigations, they cannot shed the allegations
of responsibility despite the prevailing scarcity of evidence to that effect.
With this in mind, We note that extraordinary diligence, as required by the
Amparo Rule, was not fully observed in the conduct of the police and
military investigations in the case at bar.

A perusal of the investigation reports submitted by Task Group CAROJAN

shows modest effort on the part of the police investigators to identify the
perpetrators of the abduction. To be sure, said reports are replete with
background checks on the victims of the abduction, but are, at the same
time, comparatively silent as to other concrete steps the investigators have
been taking to ascertain the authors of the crime. Although conducting a
background investigation on the victims is a logical first step in exposing
the motive behind the abductionits necessity is clearly outweighed by the
need to identify the perpetrators, especially in light of the fact that the
petitioner, who was no longer in captivity, already came up with allegations
about the motive of her captors.

Instead, Task Group CAROJAN placed the fate of their investigations solely
on the cooperation or non-cooperation of the petitionerwho, they claim,
was less than enthusiastic in participating in their investigative efforts.[131]
While it may be conceded that the participation of the petitioner would
have facilitated the progress of Task Group CAROJANs investigation, this
Court believes that the formers reticence to cooperate is hardly an excuse
for Task Group CAROJAN not to explore other means or avenues from
which they could obtain relevant leads.[132] Indeed, while the allegations
of government complicity by the petitioner cannot, by themselves, hold up
as adequate evidence before a court of lawthey are, nonetheless, a vital
source of valuable investigative leads that must be pursued and verified, if
only to comply with the high standard of diligence required by the Amparo
Rule in the conduct of investigations.

Assuming the non-cooperation of the petitioner, Task Group CAROJANs

reports still failed to explain why it never considered seeking the assistance
of Mr. Jesus Paolowho, along with the victims, is a central witness to the
abduction. The reports of Task Group CAROJAN is silent in any attempt to
obtain from Mr. Paolo, a cartographic sketch of the abductors or, at the very
least, of the one who, by petitioners account, was not wearing any mask.

[ GR No. 183711, Feb 04, 2014 ]


Facts: On March 15, 2011, the CHR submitted to the Court

its Investigation Report on the Enforced Disappearance of Jonas
Burgos (CHR Report), in compliance with our June 22, 2010 Resolution.
On the basis of the gathered evidence, the CHR submitted the following

Based on the facts developed by evidence obtaining in this case, the CHR
finds that the enforced disappearance of Jonas Joseph T. Burgos
had transpired; and that his constitutional rights to life liberty
and security were violated by the Government have been fully

Jeffrey Cabintoy and Elsa Agasang have witnessed on that fateful

day of April 28, 2007 the forcible abduction of Jonas Burgos by a
group of about seven (7) men and a woman from the extension
portion of Hapag Kainan Restaurant, located at the ground floor of Ever
Gotesco Mall, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.

Based on the above considerations, in particular, the final ruling of the CA
that confirmed the validity of the issuance of the Writ of Amparo and its
determination of the entities responsible for the enforced disappearance of
Jonas, we resolve to deny the petitioner's prayer to issue the writ
of Amparo anew and to refer the case to the CA based on the newly
discovered evidence. We so conclude as the petitioner's request for the
reissuance of the writ and for the rehearing of the case by the CA would be
redundant and superfluous in light of: (1) the ongoing investigation being
conducted by the DOJ through the NBI; (2) the CHR investigation directed
by the Court in this Resolution; and (3) the continuing investigation directed
by the CA in its March 18, 2013 decision.

We emphasize that while the Rule on the Writ of Amparo accords the Court
a wide latitude in crafting remedies to address an enforced disappearance, it
cannot (without violating the nature of the writ of Amparo as a summary
remedy that provides rapid judicial relief) grant remedies that would
complicate and prolong rather than expedite the investigations already
ongoing. Note that the CA has already determined with finality that Jonas
was a victim of enforced disappearance.

We clarify that by denying the petitioner's motion, we do not thereby rule on

the admissibility or the merits of the newly discovered evidence submitted
by the petitioner. We likewise do not foreclose any investigation by the
proper investigative and prosecutory agencies of the other entities whose
identities and participation in the enforced disappearance of Jonas may be
disclosed in future investigations and proceedings. Considering that the
present case has already reached the prosecution stage, the petitioner's
motion should have been filed with the proper investigative and prosecutory
agencies of the government.

[ GR No. 199199, Aug 27, 2013 ]


fACTS: On September 15, 2011, petitioner Maricris D. Dolot (Dolot),
together with the parish priest of the Holy Infant Jesus Parish and the
officers of Alyansa Laban sa Mina sa Matnog (petitioners), filed a petition
for continuing mandamus, damages and attorney's fees with the RTC of
Sorsogon, docketed as Civil Case No. 2011-8338.[4] The petition contained
the following pertinent allegations: (1) sometime in 2009, they protested
the iron ore mining operations being conducted by Antones Enterprises,
Global Summit Mines Development Corporation and TR Ore
in Barangays Balocawe and Bon-ot Daco, located in the Municipality of
Matnog, to no avail; (2) Matnog is located in the southern tip of Luzon and
there is a need to protect, preserve and maintain the geological foundation
of the municipality; (3) Matnog is susceptible to flooding and landslides,
and confronted with the environmental dangers of flood hazard,
liquefaction, ground settlement, ground subsidence and landslide hazard;
(4) after investigation, they learned that the mining operators did not have
the required permit to operate; (5) Sorsogon Governor Raul Lee and his
predecessor Sally Lee issued to the operators a small-scale mining permit,
which they did not have authority to issue; (6) the representatives of the
Presidential Management Staff and the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources (DENR), despite knowledge, did not do anything to
protect the interest of the people of Matnog;[5]and (7) the respondents
violated Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7076 or the People's Small-Scale Mining
Act of 1991, R.A. No. 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, and the
Local Government Code.[6] Thus, they prayed for the following reliefs: (1)
the issuance of a writ commanding the respondents to immediately stop the
mining operations in the Municipality of Matnog; (2) the issuance of a
temporary environment protection order or TEPO; (3) the creation of an
inter-agency group to undertake the rehabilitation of the mining site; (4)
award of damages; and (5) return of the iron ore, among others.[7]

Issue: The petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied
in the Resolution[10] dated October 18, 2011. Aside from sustaining the
dismissal of the case for lack of jurisdiction, the RTC[11] further ruled that:
(1) there was no final court decree, order or decision yet that the public
officials allegedly failed to act on, which is a condition for the issuance of
the writ of continuing mandamus; (2) the case was prematurely filed as the
petitioners therein failed to exhaust their administrative remedies; and (3)
they also failed to attach judicial affidavits and furnish a copy of the
complaint to the government or appropriate agency, as required by the

Ruling: In its Resolution dated October 18, 2011, which resolved the
petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the order of dismissal, the RTC
further ruled that the petition was dismissible on the following grounds: (1)
there is no final court decree, order or decision yet that the public officials
allegedly failed to act on; (2) the case was prematurely filed for failure to
exhaust administrative remedies; and (3) there was failure to attach judicial
affidavits and furnish a copy of the complaint to the government or
appropriate agency.[29] The respondents, and even the Office of the Solicitor
General, in behalf of the public respondents, all concur with the view of the

The concept of continuing mandamus was first introduced in Metropolitan

Manila Development Authority v. Concerned Residents of Manila
Bay.[30] Now cast in stone under Rule 8 of the Rules, the writ of
continuing mandamus enjoys a distinct procedure than that of ordinary
civil actions for the enforcement/violation of environmental laws, which are
covered by Part II (Civil Procedure). Similar to the procedure under Rule 65
of the Rules of Court for special civil actions for certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus, Section 4, Rule 8 of the Rules requires that the petition
filed should be sufficient in form and substance before a court may take
further action; otherwise, the court may dismiss the petition outright.
Courts must be cautioned, however, that the determination to give due
course to the petition or dismiss it outright is an exercise of discretion that
must be applied in a reasonable manner in consonance with the spirit of the
law and always with the view in mind of seeing to it that justice is served.[31]

The writ of continuing mandamus is a special civil action that may be

availed of "to compel the performance of an act specifically enjoined by
law."[33] The petition should mainly involve an environmental and
other related law, rule or regulation or a right therein. The RTC's
mistaken notion on the need for a final judgment, decree or order is
apparently based on the definition of the writ of
continuing mandamus under Section 4, Rule 1 of the Rules, to wit:
(c) Continuing mandamus is a writ issued by a court in an environmental
case directing any agency or instrumentality of the government or officer
thereof to perform an act or series of acts decreed by final
judgment which shall remain effective until judgment is fully satisfied.
(Emphasis ours)

The final court decree, order or decision erroneously alluded to by the RTC
actually pertains to the judgment or decree that a court would eventually
render in an environmental case for continuing mandamus and which
judgment or decree shall subsequently become final.

Under the Rules, after the court has rendered a judgment in conformity
with Rule 8, Section 7 and such judgment has become final, the issuing
court still retains jurisdiction over the case to ensure that the government
agency concerned is performing its tasks as mandated by law and to
monitor the effective performance of said tasks. It is only upon full
satisfaction of the final judgment, order or decision that a final return of the
writ shall be made to the court and if the court finds that the judgment has
been fully implemented, the satisfaction of judgment shall be entered in the
court docket.[34] A writ of continuing mandamus is, in essence, a command
of continuing compliance with a final judgment as it "permits the court to
retain jurisdiction after judgment in order to ensure the successful
implementation of the reliefs mandated under the court's decision."[35]

The Court, likewise, cannot sustain the argument that the petitioners
should have first filed a case with the Panel of Arbitrators (Panel), which
has jurisdiction over mining disputes under R.A. No. 7942.

Meralco v Lim (2010) GR No 184769

J. Carpio-Morales


A letter was sent to the Meralco admin department in bulacan denouncing

Lim, an administrative clerk. She was ordered to be transferred to Alabang
due to concerns over her safety. She complained under the premise that the
transfer was a denial of her due process. She wrote a letter stating that:
“It appears that the veracity of these accusations and threats to be [sic]
highly suspicious, doubtful or are just mere jokes if they existed at all.” She
added, “instead of the management supposedly extending favor to me, the
net result and effect of management action would be a punitive one.” She
asked for deferment thereafter. Since the company didn’t respond, she filed
for a writ of habeas data in the Bulacan RTC due to meralco’s omission of
provding her with details about the report of the letter. To her, this
constituted a violation of her liberty and security. She asked for disclosure
of the data and measures for keeping the confidentiality of the data.

Meralco filed a reply saying that the jurisdiction was with the NLRC and
that the petition wasn’t in order.

Trial court ruled in her favor.

In the SC, Meralco petitioned that Habeas Data applies to entities engaged
in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding an
aggrieved party’s person, family or home

Issue: Is Habeas Data the right remedy for Lim?

Held: No, petition dismissed


“Section 1. Habeas Data. – The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to

any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or
threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee
or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or
storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home and
correspondence of the aggrieved party”

It’s a forum for enforcing one’s right to the truth. Like amparo, habeas data
was a response to killings and enforced disappearances.
Castillo v Cruz- and habeas data will NOT issue to protect purely property
or commercial concerns nor when the grounds invoked in support of the
petitions therefor are vague or doubtful.

Employment is a property right in the due process clause. Lim was

concerned with her employment, one that can be solved in the NLRC.

There was no violation of respondent’s right to privacy. Respondent even

said that the letters were mere jokes and even conceded the fact that the
issue was labor related due to references to “real intent of management”.


FACTS: Neri, a police officer, filed a petition for the issuance of Writ of
Habeas Data against Joy, her former common law partner. According to
him, sometime in July 2011, he visited Joy†™s condominium and rested
for a while. When he arrived at his office, he noticed his digital camera
missing. On August 23, 2011, Joy confronted him about a purported sex
video she discovered from the digital camera showing him and another
woman. He denied the video and demanded the return of the camera, but
she refused. They had an altercation where Neri allegedly slammed
Joy†™s head against a wall and then walked away. Because of this, Joy
filed several cases against him, including a case for violation of Republic Act
9262 and administrative cases before the Napolcom, utilising the said
video. The use of the same violated his life to liberty, security and privacy
and that of the other woman, thus he had no choice but to file the petition
for issuance of the writ of habeas data. RTC issued the writ and directed Joy
to appear before the RTC and produce Neri†™s digital camera, as well as
the original and copies of the video, and to make a return within five days
from receipt. In her return,. Joy admitted keeping the memory card of the
digital camera and reproducing the video but only for use as evidence in the
cases she filed against Neri.
Neri†™s petitions should be dismissed because its filing was only aimed
at suppressing the evidence in the cases she filed against him; and she is
not engaged in the gathering, collecting, or storing of data regarding the
person of Neri. The RTC granted Neri†™s petition and ordered the turn-
over of the video to Neri and enjoined Joy from reproducing the same. It
disregarded Joy†™s defense that she is not engaged in the collection,
gathering and storage of data, and that her acts of reproducing the same
and showing it to other persons (Napolcom) violated Neri†™s right to
privacy and humiliated him. It clarified that it ruling only on the return of
the video and not on its admissibility as evidence. Dissatisfied, Joy filed the
instant petition before the Supreme Court.

HELD: A.M. No. 08-1-16-SC, or the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data
(Habeas Data Rule), was conceived as a response, given the lack of effective
and available remedies, to address the extraordinary rise in the number of
killings and enforced disappearances[1]. It was conceptualized as a judicial
remedy enforcing the right to privacy, most especially the right to
informational privacy of individuals[2], which is defined as †œ the right
to control the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of data about
oneself[3].†• As defined in Section 1 of the Habeas Data Rule, the writ of
habeas data now stands as †œ a remedy available to any person whose
right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an
unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private
individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or
information regarding the person, family, home, and correspondence of the
aggrieved party.†• Thus, in order to support a petition for the issuance
of such writ, Section 6 of the Habeas Data Rule essentially requires that the
petition sufficiently alleges, among others, †œ [t]he manner the right to
privacy is violated or threatened and how it affects the right to life, liberty
or security of the aggrieved party.†• In other words, the petition must
adequately show that there exists a nexus between the right to privacy on
the one hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the other[4].
Corollarily, the allegations in the petition must be supported by substantial
evidence showing an actual or threatened violation of the right to privacy in
life, liberty or security of the victim[5]. In this relation, it bears pointing out
that the writ of habeas data will not issue to protect purely property or
commercial concerns nor when the grounds invoked in support of the
petitions therefor are vague and doubtful[6]. In this case, the Court finds
that Ilagan was not able to sufficiently allege that his right to privacy in life,
liberty or security was or would be violated through the supposed
reproduction and threatened dissemination of the subject sex video. While
Ilagan purports a privacy interest in the suppression of this video †“
which he fears would somehow find its way to Quiapo or be uploaded in the
internet for public consumption †“ he to failed to explain the connection
between such interest and any violation of his right to life, liberty or

MOST REV. PEDRO ARIGO, et. al., Petitioners,


SCOTT H. SWIFT, et. al., Respondents.

G.R. No. 206510 September 16, 2014

TOPIC: Writ of kalikasan, UNCLOS, Immunity from suit


The USS Guardian is an Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship

of the US Navy. In December 2012, the US Embassy in the Philippines
requested diplomatic clearance for the said vessel “to enter and exit the
territorial waters of the Philippines and to arrive at the port of Subic Bay for
the purpose of routine ship replenishment, maintenance, and crew liberty.”
On January 6, 2013, the ship left Sasebo, Japan for Subic Bay, arriving on
January 13, 2013 after a brief stop for fuel in Okinawa, Japan.

On January 15, 2013, the USS Guardian departed Subic Bay for its
next port of call in Makassar, Indonesia. On January 17, 2013 at 2:20 a.m.
while transiting the Sulu Sea, the ship ran aground on the northwest side of
South Shoal of the Tubbataha Reefs, about 80 miles east-southeast of
Palawan. No one was injured in the incident, and there have been no
reports of leaking fuel or oil.

Petitioners claim that the grounding, salvaging and post-salvaging

operations of the USS Guardian cause and continue to cause environmental
damage of such magnitude as to affect the provinces of Palawan, Antique,
Aklan, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga
del Norte, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, which events violate their
constitutional rights to a balanced and healthful ecology.


Whether or not petitioners have legal standing.

Whether or not US respondents may be held liable for damages caused by

USS Guardian.

Whether or not the waiver of immunity from suit under VFA applies in this


First issue: YES.

Petitioners have legal standing

Locus standi is “a right of appearance in a court of justice on a

given question.” Specifically, it is “a party’s personal and substantial
interest in a case where he has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a
result” of the act being challenged, and “calls for more than just a
generalized grievance.” However, the rule on standing is a procedural
matter which this Court has relaxed for non-traditional plaintiffs like
ordinary citizens, taxpayers and legislators when the public interest so
requires, such as when the subject matter of the controversy is of
transcendental importance, of overreaching significance to society, or of
paramount public interest.

In the landmark case of Oposa v. Factoran, Jr., we recognized the

“public right” of citizens to “a balanced and healthful ecology which, for the
first time in our constitutional history, is solemnly incorporated in the
fundamental law.” We declared that the right to a balanced and healthful
ecology need not be written in the Constitution for it is assumed, like other
civil and polittcal 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. Such right carries with it the correlative
duty to refrain from impairing the environment.

On the novel element in the class suit filed by the petitioners

minors in Oposa, this Court ruled that not only do ordinary citizens have
legal standing to sue for the enforcement of environmental rights, they can
do so in representation of their own and future generations.

Second issue: YES.

The US respondents were sued in their official capacity as
commanding officers of the US Navy who had control and supervision over
the USS Guardian and its crew. The alleged act or omission resulting in the
unfortunate grounding of the USS Guardian on the TRNP was committed
while they were performing official military duties. Considering that the
satisfaction of a judgment against said officials will require remedial actions
and appropriation of funds by the US government, the suit is deemed to be
one against the US itself. The principle of State immunity therefore bars the
exercise of jurisdiction by this Court over the persons of respondents Swift,
Rice and Robling.

During the deliberations, Senior Associate Justice Antonio T.

Carpio took the position that the conduct of the US in this case, when its
warship entered a restricted area in violation of R.A. No. 10067 and caused
damage to the TRNP reef system, brings the matter within the ambit of
Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
(UNCLOS). He explained that while historically, warships enjoy sovereign
immunity from suit as extensions of their flag State, Art. 31 of the UNCLOS
creates an exception to this rule in cases where they fail to comply with the
rules and regulations of the coastal State regarding passage through the
latter’s internal waters and the territorial sea.

In the case of warships, as pointed out by Justice Carpio, they

continue to enjoy sovereign immunity subject to the following exceptions:
Article 30: Non-compliance by warships with the laws and regulations of
the coastal State

If any warship does not comply with the laws and regulations of the coastal
State concerning passage through the territorial sea and disregards any
request for compliance therewith which is made to it, the coastal State may
require it to leave the territorial sea immediately.

Article 31: Responsibility of the flag State for damage caused by a warship
or other government ship operated for non-commercial purposes

The flag State shall bear international responsibility for any loss or damage
to the coastal State resulting from the non-compliance by a warship or
other government ship operated for non-commercial purposes with the
laws and regulations of the coastal State concerning passage through the
territorial sea or with the provisions of this Convention or other rules of
international law.

Article 32: Immunities of warships and other government ships operated

for non-commercial purposes

With such exceptions as are contained in subsection A and in

articles 30 and 31, nothing in this Convention affects the immunities of
warships and other government ships operated for non-commercial
purposes. A foreign warship’s unauthorized entry into our internal waters
with resulting damage to marine resources is one situation in which the
above provisions may apply.
But what if the offending warship is a non-party to the UNCLOS, as in this
case, the US?

According to Justice Carpio, although the US to date has not ratified the
UNCLOS, as a matter of long-standing policy the US considers itself bound
by customary international rules on the “traditional uses of the oceans” as
codified in UNCLOS.

Moreover, Justice Carpio emphasizes that “the US refusal to join the

UNCLOS was centered on its disagreement with UNCLOS” regime of deep
seabed mining (Part XI) which considers the oceans and deep seabed
commonly owned by mankind,” pointing out that such “has nothing to do
with its the US’ acceptance of customary international rules on navigation.”

The Court also fully concurred with Justice Carpio’s view that non-
membership in the UNCLOS does not mean that the US will disregard the
rights of the Philippines as a Coastal State over its internal waters and
territorial sea. We thus expect the US to bear “international responsibility”
under Art. 31 in connection with the USS Guardian grounding which
adversely affected the Tubbataha reefs. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine that
our long-time ally and trading partner, which has been actively supporting
the country’s efforts to preserve our vital marine resources, would shirk
from its obligation to compensate the damage caused by its warship while
transiting our internal waters. Much less can we comprehend a
Government exercising leadership in international affairs, unwilling to
comply with the UNCLOS directive for all nations to cooperate in the global
task to protect and preserve the marine environment as provided in Article
197 of UNCLOS

Article 197: Cooperation on a global or regional basis

States shall cooperate on a global basis and, as appropriate, on a regional
basis, directly or through competent international organizations, in
formulating and elaborating international rules, standards and
recommended practices and procedures consistent with this Convention,
for the protection and preservation of the marine environment, taking into
account characteristic regional features.

In fine, the relevance of UNCLOS provisions to the present controversy is

beyond dispute. Although the said treaty upholds the immunity of warships
from the jurisdiction of Coastal States while navigating the latter’s
territorial sea, the flag States shall be required to leave the territorial sea
immediately if they flout the laws and regulations of the Coastal State, and
they will be liable for damages caused by their warships or any other
government vessel operated for non-commercial purposes under Article 31.

Third issue: NO.

The waiver of State immunity under the VF A pertains only to

criminal jurisdiction and not to special civil actions such as the present
petition for issuance of a writ of Kalikasan. In fact, it can be inferred from
Section 17, Rule 7 of the Rules that a criminal case against a person charged
with a violation of an environmental law is to be filed separately.

The Court considered a view that a ruling on the application or

non-application of criminal jurisdiction provisions of the VFA to US
personnel who may be found responsible for the grounding of the USS
Guardian, would be premature and beyond the province of a petition for a
writ of Kalikasan.
The Court also found unnecessary at this point to determine
whether such waiver of State immunity is indeed absolute. In the same
vein, we cannot grant damages which have resulted from the violation of
environmental laws. The Rules allows the recovery of damages, including
the collection of administrative fines under R.A. No. 10067, in a separate
civil suit or that deemed instituted with the criminal action charging the
same violation of an environmental law.




Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA)

Taiwan Cogeneration Corporation (TCC)... expressing their... intention to

build a power plant in Subic Bay... coal-fired power plant.

SBMA Ecology Center issued SBFZ Environmental Compliance Certificate


Sangguniang Panglalawigan of Zambale... opposing the establishment of a

coal-fired thermal power plant at Sitio Naglatore, Brgy. Cawag, Subic,
Zambales filed before this Court a Petition for Writ of kalikasan against RP
Energy,... first set of allegations deals with the actual environmental
damage... second set of allegations deals with the failure to comply with
certain laws and rules governing or relating to the issuance of an ECC and
amendments thereto.


Whether Energy complied with the Certification Precondition as required

under Section 59 of Republic Act No. 8371 or the Indigenous People's
Rights Act of 1997 ('IPRA Law,' x x x);... without prior consultation with
and approval of the concerned local government unit

The question then... is, can the validity of an ECC be challenged via a writ of


CA rendered a Decision denying the privilege of the writ of kalikasan... r an

environment protection order due to the failure of the Casiño Group to
prove that its constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology was...
violated or threatened

CA resolved to invalidate the ECC... for failure of Luis Miguel Aboitiz (Mr.
Aboitiz), Director of RP Energy, to affix his signature in the Sworn
Statement of Full Responsibility,... invalidated the LDA entered into by
SBMA and RP Energy. We answer in the affirmative subject to certain

but to show a causal link or reasonable connection with the environmental

damage of the magnitude contemplated under the Rules. In... the case at
bar, no such causal link or reasonable connection was shown or even
attempted relative to the aforesaid second set of allegations. It is a mere
listing of the perceived defects or irregularities in the issuance of the ECC.
This would have been sufficient reason to... disallow the resolution of such
issues in a writ of kalikasan case... e issuance of the ECC violated the IPRA
Law and LGC and that the LDA, likewise, violated the IPRA Law, we find
the same not to be within the coverage of the writ of kalikasan because...
three witnesses presented by the Casiño Group are not experts on the CFB
technology or on environmental matters.

The Casiño Group failed to contest, with proof, the adequacy of the
mitigating measures stated in the aforesaid EMP.
None of these alleged experts testified before the appellate court to confirm
the pertinent contents of the Final Report.

After due consideration, we find that, based on the statements in the Final
Report, there is no sufficiently compelling reason to compel the testimonies
of these alleged expert witnesses for the following reasons.

First, the statements are not sufficiently specific to point to us a flaw (or
flaws) in the study or design/implementation (or some other aspect) of the
project which provides a causal link or, at least, a reasonable connection
between the construction and operation of... the project vis-à-vis potential
grave environmental damage.

Second, some of the concerns raised in the alleged statements, like acid
rain, warming and acidification of the seawater, and discharge of pollutants
were, as previously discussed, addressed by the evidence presented by RP
Energy before the appellate court.

Third, the key observations of Dr. Cruz, while concededly assailing certain
aspects of the EIS, do not clearly and specifically establish how these
omissions have led to the issuance of an ECC that will pose significant
negative environmental impacts once the project is... constructed and
becomes operational.

The appellate court ruled that the ECC is invalid because Mr. Aboitiz failed
to sign the Statement of Accountability portion of the ECC.
A review of the voluminous records indicates that the matter of the lack of
signature was discussed, developed or surfaced only in the course of the
hearings, specifically, on clarificatory questions from the appellate court,...
At any rate, we shall disregard the procedural defect and rule directly on
whether the lack of signature invalidated the ECC in the interest of
substantial justice.

The question then is, was the absence of the signature of Mr. Aboitiz, as
representative of RP Energy, in the Statement of Accountability sufficient
ground to invalidate the ECC?

Viewed within the particular circumstances of this case, we answer in the


Due to the inadequacy of the transcript and the apparent lack of

opportunity for the witness to explain the lack of signature, we find that the
witness' testimony does not, by itself, indicate that there was a deliberate or
malicious intent not to sign the Statement of


As previously noted, the DENR and RP Energy were not properly apprised
that the issue relative to the lack of signature would be decisive in the
determination of the validity of the ECC.

appellate court erred when it invalidated the ECC on the ground of lack of
signature of Mr. Aboitiz in the ECC's Statement of Accountability relative to
the copy of the ECC submitted by RP Energy to the appellate court
This brings us to the next logical question, did the EPRMP provide the
necessary information in order for the DENR-EMB to assess the
environmental impact of RP Energy's request relative to the first

We answer in the affirmative.

We answer in the affirmativ... it does not follow that the ECC is the
"license" or

"permit" contemplated under Section 59 of the IPRA Law and its

implementing rules.

the ECC is intended to, among others, provide guidance or act as a

decision-making tool to other government agencies and LGUs which have
the final authority to grant licenses or permits, such as building permits or
licenses to operate, that... will ultimately result in, or authorize the
implementation of the project or the conduct of specific activities.

In the case at bar, we find, applying this rule of action, that the SBMA
should have first secured a CNO before entering into the LDA with RP
Energy for the following reasons.

First, the Subic area is historically known to be the home of our brothers
and sisters belonging to the Aeta communities
Second, SBMA and RP Energy claim that the SBMA Ecology Center verified
with the NCIP that the project site does not overlap with an ancestral

Third, that the project site was formerly used as the firing range of the U.S.
Armed Forces does not preclude the possibility that a present or future
claim of ancestral domain may be made over the aforesaid site

Fourth, that the project site was subsequently classified by the SBMA as
forming part of an industrial zone does not exempt it from the CNO

Fifth, SBMA argues that the CNO issued to HHIC should, for all intents and
purposes, be applicable to RP Energy.

All in all, we find, applying the foregoing rule of action, that SBMA should
have secured a CNO before entering into the LDA with RP Energy.

We, thus, limit the discussion as to whether the approval of the concerned
sanggunian requirement should have been complied with prior to the
consummation of the LDA, considering that the LDA is part of the
implementation of the subject project and already vests in RP

Energy the right to the use and enjoyment of the project site, as in fact
horizontal clearing activities were already undertaken by RP Energy at the
project site by virtue of the LDA
In sum, we find that the implementation of the project is not subject to the
prior approval of the concerned sanggunians, under Section 27 of the LGC,
and the SBMA's decision to approve the project prevails over the apparent
objections of the concerned sanggunians... of the LGUs, by virtue of the
clear provisions of RA 7227. Thus, there was no infirmity when the LDA
was entered into between SBMA and RP Energy despite the lack of
approval of the concerned sanggunians.


Rules on the Writ of kalikasan,[

Rules of Procedure for Environm... s

Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases,... pursuant to its power to

promulgate rules for the protection and enforcement of... constitutional
rights... in particular, the individual's... right to a balanced and healthful

Section 1. Nature of the writ. -

The writ is a... remedy available to a natural or juridical person, entity

authorized by law, people's organization, non-governmental organization,
or any public interest group accredited by or registered with any
government... agency, on behalf of persons whose constitutional right to a
balanced and healthful ecology is violated, or threatened with violation by
an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or private
individual or entity, involving environmental damage of such... magnitude
as to prejudice the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more
cities or provinces.

provide judicial relief from threatened or actual violation/s of the

constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology of a magnitude or
degree of... damage that transcends political and territorial boundaries...
following requisites

(1) there is an actual or threatened violation of the constitutional right to a

balanced and healthful ecology; (2) the actual or threatened violation arises
from an... unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or
private in... dividual or entity; and (3) the actual or threatened violation
involves or will lead to an environmental damage of such magnitude as to
prejudice the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more... cities
or provinces.

If the petition is granted, the court may grant the reliefs provided for under

15 of Rule 7, to wit:

Section 15. Judgment... sixty (60) days from the time the petition is
submitted for decision,... granting or denying the privilege of the writ of
cease and desis... protect, preserve, rehabilitate or restore the
environment;... monitor strict compliance with the decision and orders of
the court;... periodic reports on the execution of the final judgment; and...
people to a balanced and healthful ecology... non-exhaustive... damage that
will occur if the power plant project is implemente

The laws governing the ECC, i.e., Presidential Decree No. (PD) 1151 and PD
1586, do not specifically state that the lack of signature in the Statement of
Accountability has the effect of invalidating the ECC.

a helpful overview of the stages of the EIA process

Screening determines if a project is covered or not covered by the PEISS

Scoping is a Proponent-driven multi-sectoral formal process of determining

the focused Terms of Reference of the EIA Stud

EIA Study involves a description of the proposed project and its

alternatives, characterization of the project environment, impact
identification and prediction, evaluation of impact significance, impact
mitigation, formulation of Environmental Management... and Monitoring
Plan, with corresponding cost estimates and institutional support

R... eview of EIA Reports normally entails an EMB procedural screening for
compliance with minimum requirements specified dur... ing Scoping,
followed by a substantive review
Decision Making involves evaluation of EIA recommendations and the draft
decision document, resulting to the issuance of an ECC, CNC or Denial

Moreover, the Proponent signs a sworn statement of full responsibility... on

implementation of its commitments prior to the release of the ECC. The
ECC is then transmitted to concerned LGUs and other GAs for integration
into their decision-making process.

Monitoring, Validation and Evaluation/Audit stage assesses performance of

the Proponent against the ECC and its commitments in the Environmental
Management and Monitoring Plans to ensure actual impacts of the project
are adequately prevented or mitigated.

signing of the Statement of Accountability takes place at the Decision-

Making Stage.

definition of the ECC in the Revised Manual highlights

Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) - a certificate of

Environmental Compliance Commitment to which the Proponent conforms
with, after DENR-EMB explains the ECC conditions, by signing the sworn
undertaking of full responsibility over implementation of... specified
measures which are necessary to comply with existing environmental
regulations or to operate within best environmental practices that are not
currently covered by existing laws.
It is a document issued by the DENR/EMB after a positive review of an
ECC application,... certifying that the Proponent has complied with all the
requirements of the EIS System and has committed to implement its
approved Environmental Management Plan. The ECC also provides
guidance to other agencies and to LGUs on EIA findings and
recommendations, which need to be... considered in their respective
decision-making process.[157] (Emphasis supplied)

PD 1151 set the Philippine Environment Policy. Notably, this law recognized
the right of the people to a healthful environment.[160] Pursuant thereto,
in every action, project or undertaking, which significantly affects the
quality of the... environment, all agencies and instrumentalities of the
national government, including government-owned or -controlled
corporations, as well as private corporations, firms, and entities were
required to prepare, file and include a statement (i.e., Environmental

Statement or EIS) containing:

(a) the environmental impact of the proposed action, project or


(b) any adverse environmental effect which cannot be avoided should the
proposal be implemented;

(c) alternative to the proposed action;

(d) a determination that the short-term uses of the resources of the
environment are consistent with the maintenance and enhancement of the
long-term productivity of the same; and

(e) whenever a proposal involves the use of depletable or non-renewable

resources, a finding must be made that such use and commitment are

To further strengthen and develop the EIS, PD 1586 was promulgated,

which established the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System
(PEISS). The PEISS is "a systems-oriented and integrated approach to the
EIS system to ensure a rational balance between socio-economic...
development and environmental protection for the benefit of present and
future generations."[162] The ECC requirement is mandated under Section
4 thereof:

SECTION 4. Presidential Proclamation of Environmentally Critical Areas

and Projects. The President of the Philippines may, on his own initiative or
upon recommendation of the National Environmental Protection Council,
by proclamation declare certain projects,... undertakings or areas in the
country as environmentally critical. No person, partnership or corporation
shall undertake or operate any such declared environmentally critical
project or area without first securing an Environmental Compliance
Certificate issued by the President... or his duly authorized representative

The PEISS consists of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

process, which is mandatory for private or public projects that may
significantly affect the quality of the environment. It involves evaluating
and predicting the likely impacts of the project on the environment,...
designing appropriate preventive, mitigating and enhancement measures
addressing these consequences to protect the environment and the
community's welfare.
PD 1586 was implemented by DAO 2003-30 which, in turn, set up a system
or procedure to determine when a project is required to secure an ECC and
when it is not

When an ECC is not required, the project proponent procures a Certificate

of Non-Coverage

Resident Marine Mammals vs Secretary of Department of Energy

Case Digest GR 180771 April 21 2015


In 2002, the Department of Energy entered into a Geophysical Survey and Exploration Contract
with JAPEX, a 100% Japanese corporation, which was later converted to a service contract,
known as SC-46, for the exploration, development and utilization of petroleum resources in an
area that basically affects the Tanon Strait. The President at that time was not a signatory to the
SC-46 and such contract was not submitted to the Congress for review.

Tanon Strait is a narrow passage of water in Cebu which harbors a biodiversity of marine life
and is declared by laws as a protected seascape. When JAPEX started its seismic surveys and
drilling activities over the area, petitions were filed assailing the constitutionality of SC-46. One
petition protesting the activities for its ecological impact was in the name of “Resident Marine
Mammals” – which are literally toothed whales, turtles and such, joined in by human petitioners
referred to as “Stewards”, in their representative as well as personal capacity. Pres. Arroyo was
also impleaded as an unwilling co-petitioner, purportedly because of her express declaration
and undertaking under the ASEAN Charter to protect habitats and other environmental

FIDEC, an organization committed to the welfare of marginal fisherfolk in the area, also
questioned the SC-46 on the ground that service contracts are no longer allowed under the 1987
Constitution, and that if it were, SC-46 is still null and void because it did not comply with the
Constitution, most especially the safeguards that the Court laid down in La Bugal B’laan case.

Remedial Law
Issue 1: W/N the “Resident Marine Mammals”, or animals in general, have standing as the real
party-in-interests in this suit

Yes. The Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases allows filing of a citizen’s suit. A citizen’s
suit under this rule allows any Filipino citizen to file an action for the enforcement of
environmental law on behalf of minors or generations yet unborn. It is essentially a
representative suit that allows persons who are not real parties in interest to institute actions on
behalf of the real party in interest.


Issue 2: W/N the name of former President Arroyo impleaded in the petition as an unwilling co-
plaintiff is proper

No. The name of Pres Arroyo as an unwilling plaintiff impleaded in the petition should be
stricken from the title of the case.

First, under Rule 3, Sec 10 of the ROC, when the consent of a party who should be joined as
plaintiff cannot be obtained, he or she may be made a party defendant. This will put the
unwilling party under the jurisdiction of the court, which may properly implead him or her
through its processes. The unwilling party’s name cannot be simply included in the petition
without her knowledge or consent, as this would be a denial of due process.

Second, impleading the former President for an act she made in performance of the functions of
her office is contrary to the public policy against embroiling Presidents in suits.


Facts: Respondent FPIC operates two pipelines since 1969, viz: (1) the White Oil Pipeline (WOPL) System,
which covers a 117-kilometer stretch from Batangas to the Pandacan Terminal in Manila and transports
diesel, gasoline, jet fuel and kerosene; and (b) the Black Oil Pipeline (BOPL) System, which extends 105
kilometers and transports bunker fuel from Batangas to a depot in Sucat, Parañaque. These systems
transport nearly 60% of the petroleum requirements of Metro Manila and parts of the provinces of
Bulacan, Laguna, and Rizal.

The two pipelines were supposedly designed to provide more than double the standard safety
allowance against leakage, considering that they are made out of heavy duty steel that can withstand
more than twice the current operating pressure and are buried at a minimum depth of 1.5 meters,
which is deeper than the US Department of Transportation standard of 0.9 meters.

In May 2010, however, a leakage from one of the pipelines was suspected after the residents of West
Tower Condominium (WestTower) started to smell gas within the condominium. A search made on July
10, 2010 within the condominium premises led to the discovery of a fuel leak from the wall of its
Basement 2. Owing to its inability to control the flow, WestTower’s management reported the matter to
the Police Department of Makati City, which in turn called the city’s Bureau of Fire Protection.

What started as a two-drum leak at the initial stages became a 15-20 drum a day affair. Eventually, the
sump pit of the condominium was ordered shut down by the City of Makati to prevent the discharge of
contaminated water into the drainage system of Barangay Bangkal. Eventually, the fumes compelled the
residents of WestTower to abandon their respective units on July 23, 2010 and the condo’s power was
shut down.

Petitioner FPIC initially disowned any leak from its oil pipeline. Thus, the residents of WestTower
shouldered the expenses of hauling the waste water from its basement, which eventually required the
setting up of a treatment plant in the area to separate fuel from the waste water.

On November 19, 2010, the Court issued the Writ of Kalikasan[2] with a Temporary Environmental
Protection Order (TEPO) requiring respondents FPIC, FGC, and the members of their Boards of Directors
to file their respective verified returns.


1Whether a Permanent Environmental Protection Order should be issued

to direct the respondents to perform or to desist from performing acts in
order to protect, preserve, and rehabilitate the affected environment;
2. Whether FGC and the directors and officers of respondents FPIC and
FGC may be held liable under the environmental protection order

1. The Court found this recommendation of the appellate court proper.
Hence, We required FPIC to obtain the adverted DOE Certification in
Our July 30, 2013 Resolution. We deemed it proper to require said
certification from the DOE considering that the core issue of this case
requires the specialized knowledge and special expertise of the DOE
and various other administrative agencies. On October 25, 2013, the
DOE submitted the certification pursuant to the July 30, 2013
Resolution of the Court. Later, however, on August 5, 2014, DOE
Secretary Carlos Jericho I. Petilla submitted a letter recommending
certain activities and the timetable for the resumption of the WOPL
operations after conducting a dialogue between the concerned
government agencies and FPIC.

After a perusal of the recommendations of the DOE and the

submissions of the parties, the Court adopts the activities
and measures prescribed in the DOE letter dated August 5,
2014 to be complied with by FPIC as conditions for the
resumption of the commercial operations of the WOPL. The
DOE should, therefore, proceed with the implementation of
the tests proposed in the said August 5, 2014 letter.
Thereafter, if it is satisfied that the results warrant the
immediate reopening of the WOPL, the DOE shall issue an
order allowing FPIC to resume the operation of the WOPL.
On the other hand, should the probe result in a finding that
the pipeline is no longer safe for continued use and that its
condition is irremediable, or that it already exceeded its
serviceable life, among others, the closure of the WOPL may
be ordered.

The DOE is specially equipped to consider FPIC’s proper

implementation and compliance with its PIMS and to evaluate the
result of the various tests conducted on the pipeline. The DOE is
empowered by Sec. 12(b)(1), RA 7638 to formulate and implement
policies for the efficient and economical “distribution, transportation,
and storage of petroleum, coal, natural gas.”[48] Thus, it cannot be
gainsaid that the DOE possesses technical knowledge and special
expertise with respect to practices in the transportation of oil through

2. The Court will refrain from ruling on the finding of the CA that the
individual directors and officers of FPIC and FGC are not liable due to
the explicit rule in the Rules of Procedure for Environmental cases
that in a petition for a writ of kalikasan,the Court cannot grant the
award of damages to individual petitioners under Rule 7, Sec. 15(e) of
the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases. As duly noted by the
CA, the civil case and criminal complaint filed by petitioners against
respondents are the proper proceedings to ventilate and determine
the individual liability of respondents, if any, on their exercise of
corporate powers and the management of FPIC relative to the dire
environmental impact of the dumping of petroleum products
stemming from the leak in the WOPL in Barangay Bangkal, Makati

Hence, the Court will not rule on the alleged liability on the part of
the FPIC and FGC officials which can, however, be properly resolved
in the civil and criminal cases now pending against them.