157580199 MMDA vs Concerned Citizens of Manila Bay Digest

September 13, 2017 | Author: XXX | Category: Mandamus, Clean Water Act, Water Quality, Pollution, Government Information
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MMDA vs Concened Residents of Manila Bay December 18, 2008; G.R. Nos. 171947-48 (Mickey)

Issue: I.

Is the cleaning and/or restoration of Manila Bay a ministerial act of the

Facts: 1.

petitioners that can be compelled by mandamus? January 29, 1999, respondents Concerned Residents of Manila Bay (with


Does sec. 17 and 20 of PD 1152 pertain only to specific cleaning of pollution

Atty. Oposa as their lawyer) filed a complaint before the Regional Trial

and not cleaning in general?

Court (RTC) in Imus, Cavite against several government agencies, among

*Note: It is the MMDA and DPWH together with the lgus that are the

them the petitioners, for the cleanup, rehabilitation, and protection of the

primary agencies tasked to remove and demolish the nuisance structures and

Manila Bay. 2.

obstructions along the bay

The complaint alleges that the water quality of the Manila Bay had fallen way below the allowable standards set by law, specifically Presidential Decree No. (PD) 1152 or the Philippine Environment Code.


Held: I.

Yes, It is a ministerial act. a.

That the continued neglect of petitioners in abating the pollution of

duty. A ministerial duty is one that “requires neither the exercise of

the Manila Bay constitutes a violation of:

official discretion nor judgment.” It connotes an act in which nothing


is left to the discretion of the person executing it. It is a “simple,

Respondents’ constitutional right to life, health, and a balanced



definite duty arising under conditions admitted or proved to exist and


The Environment Code (PD 1152);


The Pollution Control Law (PD 984);


The Water Code (PD 1067);


The Sanitation Code (PD 856);


The Illegal Disposal of Wastes Decree (PD 825);


The Marine Pollution Law (PD 979);

landfill and solid waste and liquid disposal as well as other alternative


Executive Order No. 192;

garbage disposal systems is ministerial, its duty being a statutory


The Toxic and Hazardous Wastes Law (Republic Act No. 6969);

imposition. This is provided in Sec. 3(c) of Republic Act No. (RA) 7924


Civil Code provisions on nuisance and human relations;


The Trust Doctrine and the Principle of Guardianship; and


International Law

imposed by law.” b.

The court said that the obligation to perform their ( based on MMDA’s argument) duties as defined by law, on one hand, and how they are to carry out such duties, on the other, are two different concepts.


The MMDA’s duty to put up an adequate and appropriate sanitary

creating the MMDA. d.

A discretionary duty is one that “allows a person to exercise judgment and choose to perform or not to perform. Any suggestion

It was shown by the respondents that the amount of fecal coliform content

that the MMDA has the option whether or not to perform its solid waste

ranged from 50,000 to 80,000 most probable number (MPN)/ml when

disposal-related duties ought to be dismissed for want of legal basis.

what DENR Administrative Order No. 34-90 prescribed as a safe level for


A writ of mandamus lies to require the execution of a ministerial


bathing and other forms of contact recreational activities, or the “SB” level,

not to perform these duties DENR, MWSS, LWUA, DA,

is one not exceeding 200 MPN/100 ml.


The RTC held the petitioners and other agencies jointly and solidarily, to


(RA 7279), eviction or demolition may be allowed “when

classification to make it fit for swimming, skin-diving and other forms of

persons or entities occupy danger areas such as esteros, railroad

contact recreation. And within 6 months have a concerted, consolidated and

tracks, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways, and

coordinated plan for the cleanup of the bay.

other public places such as sidewalks, roads, parks and

The various agencies have been instructed to perform their

playgrounds.” i.

The MMDA, as lead agency, in coordination with

structures and other nuisances that obstruct the free flow of

the DPWH, lgus, and concerned agencies, can

waters to the bay. These nuisances discharge solid and liquid

dismantle and remove all structures, constructions,

wastes which eventually end up in Manila Bay. As the

and other encroachments built in breach of RA

construction and engineering arm of the government, DPWH is

7279 and other pertinent laws along the rivers,

ordered to actively participate in removing debris, such as

waterways, and esteros in Metro Manila.

carcass of sunken vessels, and other non-biodegradable garbage


Furthermore it is enshrined in RA 9275 or the Philippine Clean

in the bay.

Water Act of 2004. This law stresses that the State shall pursue

The petitioners appealed to the CA contending: 1. Arguing in the main that

a policy of economic growth in a manner consistent with the

the pertinent provisions of the Environment Code (PD 1152) relate only to

protection, preservation, and revival of the quality of our fresh,

the cleaning of specific pollution incidents and do not cover cleaning in general and 2. That the cleaning of the Manila Bay is not a ministerial act


Sec. 28 of the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992

clean up and rehabilitate Manila Bay and restore its waters to SB

duties including defendant DPWH, to remove and demolish


The following agencies are therefore precluded from choosing

brackish, and marine waters. h.

Lastly the court said that said: “All told, the aforementioned

which can be compelled by mandamus.

enabling laws and issuances are in themselves clear, categorical,

CA affirmed in toto the trial court’s decision as it did not require petitioners

and complete as to what are the obligations and mandate of each

to do tasks outside of their usual basic functions under existing laws.

agency/petitioner under the law. We need not belabor the issue

emphasizes on the alarming quantity of lead and leachate or

that their tasks include the cleanup of the Manila Bay.”

liquid run-off.

II. Secs. 17 and 20 of the Environment Code Include Cleaning in General a.


The Court then calls for sufficient sanitary landfills

The Court finds for the respondents and their emphasis that Sec. 62(g) of RA

now more than ever be established as prescribed by

9275(Clean Water Act), far from being a delimiting provision, in fact even

the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA

enlarged the operational scope of Sec. 20, by including accidental spills as

9003). Particular note should be taken of the

among the water pollution incidents contemplated in Sec. 17 in relation to Sec.

blatant violations by some lgus and possibly the

20 of PD 1152. i.

MMDA. Also Sec. 17 requires them to act even in the absence of a


concerned executive departments and agencies to immediately

deteriorated to a degree where its state will adversely affect

act and discharge their respective official duties and obligations. i.

Jr. The Court stated that the right to a balanced and healthful

is not conditional on the occurrence of any pollution

ecology need not even be written in the Constitution for it is


assumed, like other civil and political rights guaranteed in the

The Court quoting the CA decision: “PD 1152 aims to

Bill of Rights, to exist from the inception of mankind and it is

introduce a comprehensive program of environmental

an issue of transcendental importance with intergenerational

protection and management. This is better served by


limiting them to specific pollution incidents.” The cleanup and/or restoration of the Manila Bay is only an aspect and the initial stage of the long-term solution. The preservation of the water quality of the bay after the rehabilitation process is as important as the cleaning phase. c.

It thus behooves the Court to put the heads of the petitionerdepartment-agencies and the bureaus and offices under them on continuing notice about, and to enjoin them to perform, their mandates and duties towards cleaning up the Manila Bay and preserving the quality of its water to the ideal level. Under what other judicial discipline describes as “continuing mandamus,” the Court may, under extraordinary circumstances, issue directives with the end in view of ensuring that its decision would not be set to naught by administrative inaction or indifference.


The Court can take judicial notice of the presence of shanties and other unauthorized structures which do not have septic tanks along drainage ways of the river system. i.

If there is one factor responsible for the pollution of the major river systems and the Manila Bay, these unauthorized structures would be on top of the list.


Art. 51 of PD 1067 or the Water Code prohibits the building of structures within a given length along banks of rivers and other waterways.


Judicial notice may likewise be taken of factories and other industrial establishments standing along or near the banks of the Pasig River,






waterways. They should have their waste treatment facilities or otherwise should be forced to transfer or shutdown. g.

Finally they reiterate what has been said in Oposa v. Factoran,

In fine, the underlying duty to upgrade the quality of water

making Secs. 17 & 20 of general application rather than


The Court wishes to emphasize the extreme necessity for all

specific pollution incident, as long as water quality “has

its best usage. ii.


The court then cites the ADB commissioned study on the garbage problem of Metro Manila in The Garbage Book which

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