Petitioner dolphins, other mammals WIN case; SC decides against Japanese oil deal

For the sake of endangered dolphins, whales and other marine mammals, the Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down as unconstitutional, a deal between the Department of Energy (DOE) and a Japanese firm for oil “exploration, development and exploitation” in Tañon Strait, an “environmentally critical area” between the islands of Cebu and Negros. In a unanimous vote, the high court declared as null and void Service Contract No. 46 (SC 46) between the DOE and the Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. (Japex) for oil exploration activities in the protected waters that was signed in 2004. The high court ruled that SC 46 was in violation of Republic Act No. 7586, or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992 (Nipas), which deemed Tañon Strait to be a critical area.

SC sides with dolphins, strikes down oil deal By: Tarra Quismundo - Reporter / @TarraINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:29 AM April 22, 2015 Read more: Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
SUPREME COURT: Remedial statutes or statutes relating to remedies or modes of procedure, which do not create new or take away vested rights, but only operate in furtherance of the remedy or confirmation of rights already existing, do not come within the legal conception of a retroactive law, or the general rule against retroactive operation of statutes. Statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be construed as applicable to actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage. Procedural laws are retroactive in that sense and to that extent, x x x.

Moreover, even before the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases became effective, this Court had already taken a permissive position on the issue of locus standi in environmental cases. In Oposa, we allowed the suit to be brought in the name of generations yet unborn "based on the concept of intergenerational responsibility insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned." Furthermore, we said that the right to a balanced and healthful ecology, a right that does not even need to be stated in our Constitution as it is assumed to exist from the inception of humankind, carries with it the correlative duty to refrain from impairing the environment.

In light of the foregoing, the need to give the Resident Marine Mammals legal standing has been eliminated by our Rules, which allow any Filipino citizen, as a steward of nature, to bring a suit to enforce our environmental laws. It is worth noting here that the Stewards are joined as real parties in the Petition and not just in representation of the named cetacean species. The Stewards, Ramos and Eisma-Osorio, having shown in their petition that there may be possible violations of laws concerning the habitat of the Resident Marine Mammals, are therefore declared to possess the legal standing to file this petition. (G.R. No. 180771, April 21, 2015)

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