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Writ of kalikasan


Dear PAO,
I want to question the issuance of licenses to exploit our resources and would want to propose a total ban on everything because I believe we have nothing more left for our future generations. May I directly file a petition for the issuance of a writ of kalikasan (nature/environment) before the Supreme Court due to the transcendental importance of my claim?

Dear Lorena,
The case of Victoria Segovia, et al. vs. The Climate Change Commission, et al. (GR 211010, March 7, 2017, Ponente: Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa), clearly discussed the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction in the direct filing of a petition for the issuance of the writ of kalikasan, viz.:

“Under the RPEC (Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases), the writ of kalikasan is an extraordinary remedy covering environmental damage of such magnitude that will prejudice the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces. It is designed for a narrow but special purpose: to accord a stronger protection for environmental rights, aiming, among others, to provide a speedy and effective resolution of a case involving the violation of one’s constitutional right to a healthful and balanced ecology that transcends political and territorial boundaries and to address the potentially exponential nature of large-scale ecological threats. At the very least, the magnitude of the ecological problems contemplated under the RPEC satisfies at least one of the exceptions to the rule on hierarchy of courts, as when direct resort is allowed where it is dictated by public welfare. Given that the RPEC allows direct resort to this Court, it is ultimately within the Court’s discretion whether or not to accept petitions brought directly before it…” (Emphasis supplied)

The Supreme Court clarified that the filing of the said petition directly before it is one of the exceptions to the rule on hierarchy of courts. However, emphasis should be made on the fact that the Court still has the discretion on whether or not it will look upon the same, and thereafter grant the petition since the petitioner/s should first satisfy all the jurisdictional, formal and substantive requirements of law in seeking the issuance of a writ of kalikasan.

Hence, if you are able to prove your standing in filing the petition for the writ, which must be very clear in all terms, and if you are able to substantiate your allegations in a very pressing concern, you may directly file the petition for the Issuance of the writ of kalikasan before the Supreme Court.

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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