2016 (Political Law) Bar Exam Questions: Question 4

[Answer/discuss the question below, or see 2016 bar exam Political Law Instructions; 2016 Political Law Questions: 1, 2, 35, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20; See also 2016 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]

-IV-

Several concerned residents of the areas fronting Manila Bay, among them a group of students who are minors,filed a suit against the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department o f Health (DOH), the Department o f Agriculture (DA), the Department o f Education (DepEd), the Department o f Interior and Local Government (DILG), and a number of other executive agencies, asking the court to order them to perform their duties relating to the cleanup, rehabilitation and protection of Manila Bay. The complaint alleges that the continued neglect by defendants and their failure to prevent and abate pollution in Manila Bay constitute a violation of the petitioners’ constitutional right to life, health and a balanced ecology.

[a] If the defendants assert that the students/petitioners who are minors do not have locus standi to file the action, is the assertion correct? Explain your answer. (2.5%)

[b] In its decision which attained finality, the Court ordered the defendants to clean up, rehabilitate and sanitize Manila Bay within eighteen (18) months, and to submit to the Court periodic reports of their accomplishment, so that the Court can monitor and oversee the activities undertaken by the agencies in compliance with the Court’s directives. Subsequently, a resolution was issued extending the time periods within which the agencies should comply with the directives covered by the final decision. A view was raised that the Court’s continued intervention after the case has been decided violates the doctrine of separation of powers considering that the government agencies all belong to the Executive Department and are under the control of the President. Is this contention correct? Why or why not? (2.5%)

One comment

  1. BAR EXAM QUESTION NO. 4
    Political Law

    Several concerned residents of the areas fronting Manila Bay, among them a group of students who are minors,filed a suit against the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department o f Health (DOH), the Department o f Agriculture (DA), the Department o f Education (DepEd), the Department o f Interior and Local Government (DILG), and a number of other executive agencies, asking the court to order them to perform their duties relating to the cleanup, rehabilitation and protection of Manila Bay. The complaint alleges that the continued neglect by defendants and their failure to prevent and abate pollution in Manila Bay constitute a violation of the petitioners’ constitutional right to life, health and a balanced ecology.

    [a] If the defendants assert that the students/petitioners who are minors do not have locus standi to file the action, is the assertion correct? Explain your answer. (2.5%)

    [b] In its decision which attained finality, the Court ordered the defendants to clean up, rehabilitate and sanitize Manila Bay within eighteen (18) months, and to submit to the Court periodic reports of their accomplishment, so that the Court can monitor and oversee the activities undertaken by the agencies in compliance with the Court’s directives. Subsequently, a resolution was issued extending the time periods within which the agencies should comply with the directives covered by the final decision. A view was raised that the Court’s continued intervention after the case has been decided violates the doctrine of separation of powers considering that the government agencies all belong to the Executive Department and are under the control of the President. Is this contention correct? Why or why not? (2.5%)

    SUGGESTED ANSWER:

    (a) I explicitly states that students/petitioners who are minors have locus standi to file the action necessary to sustain the bringing and, maintenance of this suit. Locus standi is not a function of petitioners’ claim that their suit is properly regarded as a class suit. I understand locus standi to refer to the legal interest which a plaintiff must have in the subject matter of the suit. It appears to embrace everyone living in the country whether now or in the future — it appears to me that everyone who may be expected to benefit from the course of action petitioners seek to require public respondents to take, is vested with the necessary locus standi. The Court may be seen therefore to be recognizing a beneficiaries’ right of action in the field of environmental protection, as against both the public administrative agency directly concerned and the private persons or entities operating in the field or sector of activity involved. Whether such beneficiaries’ right of action may be found under any and all circumstances, or whether some failure to act, in the first instance, on the part of the governmental agency concerned must be shown (“prior exhaustion of administrative remedies”).

    (b)Yes, the contention is correct,

    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 President’s 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 respective areas of jurisdiction, such as but not limited to the Pasig-Marikina-San Juan Rivers, the NCR (Parañaque-Zapote, Las Piñas) Rivers, the Navotas-Malabon-Tullahan-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 non-complying 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.

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