LLDA v. CA Facts: On March 8, 1991, the Task Force Camarin Dumpsite of Camarin, Caloocan City, filed a letter-complaint with the LLDA seeking to stop the operation of the garbage dumpsite in Tala Estate, Barangay Camarin, Caloocan City. After an onsite investigation and a public hearing, the LLDA issued a Cease and Desist Order ordering the City Government of Caloocan, Metropolitan Manila Authority, their contractors, and other entities, to stop dumping any form or kind of garbage and other waste matter at the Camarin dumpsite. The dumping operations was stopped by the City Government but was continued later on after a failed settlement. The LLDA issued another CDO enjoining the City Government of Caloocan from continuing its dumping operations at the Camarin area. With the assistance of the Philippine National Police, LLDA enforced its Alias Cease and Desist Order by prohibiting the entry of all garbage dump trucks into the area. The Caloocan City Government filed with the RTC an action for the declaration of nullity of the Cease and Desist Order, averring that it is the sole authority empowered to promote the health and safety and enhance the right of the people in Caloocan City to a balanced ecology within its territorial jurisdiction. The RTC issued a TRO enjoining the LLDA from enforcing its CDO. The LLDA contends that the complaint is reviewable both upon the law and the facts of the case by the Court of Appeals and not by the RTC. The CA ruled that the LLDA had no power to issue a Cease and Desist Order. Issue: Whether the LLDA has the power to issue a CDO Ruling: Yes, the LLDA has the power to issue a Cease and Desist Order. It is specifically mandated under RA No. 4850 and its amendatory laws to carry out and make effective the declared national policy of promoting and accelerating the development and balanced growth of the Laguna Lake area and the surrounding provinces of Rizal and Laguna and the cities of San Pablo, Manila, Pasay, Quezon and Caloocan with due regard and adequate provisions for environmental management and control, preservation of the quality of human life and ecological systems, and the prevention of undue ecological disturbances, deterioration and pollution. Aside from the powers conferred upon it by law, an administrative agency has also such powers as are necessarily implied in the exercise of its express powers. In the exercise, therefore, of its express powers under its charter as a regulatory and quasi-judicial body with respect to pollution cases in the Laguna Lake region, the authority of the LLDA to issue a Cease and Desist Order is implied. Oposa v. Factoran Facts: The petitioners are minors represented and joined by their parents, and the Philippine Ecological Network, Inc. (PENI), a domestic, non-stock and non-profit corporation. They instituted a class suit as taxpayers who are all entitled to the enjoyment of the natural resources of the Philippines, specifically, the virgin tropical forests. They pray for the cancellation of all existing timber license agreements (TLAs) and the cessation of the issuance of new TLAs. The petitioners claim that “they represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn.” The complaint alleges that to maintain a balanced and healthful ecology, “the country’s land area should be utilized on the basis of a ratio of 54 percent for forest cover and 46 percent for agricultural, residential, industrial, commercial and other uses.” Moreover, it alleges that due to the degradation and deforestation of the forests, there are a number of environmental tragedies in the country. The petitioners base their cause of action on scientific evidence of the adverse effects of deforestation as a result of the issuance of the TLAs of the public respondents. Public respondents assert that there is no cause of action, and that the question raised by the petitioners is a political question that should be directed towards the legislative or executive branches of the government. The lower court granted the motion to dismiss, thus the petitioners were constrained to file a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether the petitioners have a cause of action to “prevent the misappropriation or impairment” of Philippine rainforests and “arrest the unabated hemorrhage of the country’s vital life support systems and continued rape of Mother Earth.” Ruling: Yes. The petitioners have a cause of action. The complaint of the petitioners is based on the Right to a Balanced and Healthful Ecology as provided in Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Constitution. Although this right falls under the Declaration of Principles and State Policies, the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is not less important than the civil and political rights under the Bill of Rights. “Such a right belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less than self-preservation and self-perpetuation – aptly and fittingly stressed by the petitioners – the advancement of which may even be said to predate all governments and constitutions.” The reason why this right is placed under Article II of the Constitution is to emphasize the importance of the State’s obligation to preserve the Right to a Balanced and Healthful Ecology, and to protect and advance the Right to Health. The Supreme Court also held that “the right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries with it the correlative duty to refrain from impairing the environment.” Section 3 of EO No. 192 declares as a policy of the State “to ensure the sustainable use, development, management, renewal, and conservation of the country’s forest, mineral, land, off-shore areas and other natural resources, including the protection and enhancement of the quality of the environment, and equitable access of the different segments of the population to the development and the use of the country’s natural resources, not only for the present generation but for future generations as well.” This declaration is affirmed in Title XIV, Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987 and included as part of the DENR’s responsibility to carry out “the State’s constitutional mandate to control and supervise the exploration, development, utilization, and conservation of the country’s natural resources.” Therefore, it is definite that the petitioners have the right to a balanced and healthful ecology and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has the duty to protect and advance such right. The violation of the petitioners’ right gives rise to a cause of action. The Supreme Court thus held that the full protection of the environment requires that no further TLAs should be renewed or granted. Valmonte v. Belmonte Facts: Petitioners in this special civil action for mandamus with preliminary injunction invoke their right to information and pray that respondent be directed: (a) to furnish petitioners the list of the names of the Batasang Pambansa members belonging to the UNIDO and PDP-Laban who were able to secure clean loans immediately before the February 7 election thru the intercession/marginal note of the then First Lady Imelda Marcos; and/or (b) to furnish petitioners with certified true copies of the documents evidencing their respective loans; and/or (c) to allow petitioners access to the public records for the subject information On June 20, 1986, apparently not having yet received the reply of the Government Service and Insurance System (GSIS) Deputy General Counsel, petitioner Valmonte wrote respondent another letter, saying that for failure to receive a reply, "(W)e are now considering ourselves free to do whatever action necessary within the premises to pursue our desired objective in pursuance of public interest." Issue: WON Valmonte, et. al. are entitled as citizens and taxpayers to inquire upon GSIS records on behest loans given by the former First Lady Imelda Marcos to Batasang Pambansa members belonging to the UNIDO and PDP-Laban political parties. Ruling: Respondent has failed to cite any law granting the GSIS the privilege of confidentiality as regards the documents subject of this petition. His position is apparently based merely on considerations of policy. The judiciary does not settle policy issues. The Court can only declare what the law is, and not what the law should be. Under our system of government, policy issues are within the domain of the political branches of the government, and of the people themselves as the repository of all State power. The concerned borrowers themselves may not succeed if they choose to invoke their right to privacy, considering the public offices they were holding at the time the loans were alleged to have been granted. It cannot be denied that because of the interest they generate and their newsworthiness, public figures, most especially those holding responsible positions in government, enjoy a more limited right to privacy as compared to ordinary individuals, their actions being subject to closer public scrutiny The "transactions" used here I suppose is generic and, therefore, it can cover both steps leading to a contract, and already a consummated contract, Considering the intent of the framers of the Constitution which, though not binding upon the Court, are nevertheless persuasive, and considering further that government-owned and controlled corporations, whether performing proprietary or governmental functions are accountable to the people, the Court is convinced that transactions entered into by the GSIS, a government-controlled corporation created by special legislation are within the ambit of the people's right to be informed pursuant to the constitutional policy of transparency in government dealings. Although citizens are afforded the right to information and, pursuant thereto, are entitled to "access to official records," the Constitution does not accord them a right to compel custodians of official records to prepare lists, abstracts, summaries and the like in their desire to acquire information on matters of public concern. Legazpi v. CSC Facts: Citizen Valentin Legaspi requested from the Civil Service Commission information on the civil service eligibilities of sanitarian employees in the Health Department of Cebu City. The Commission rejected the request, asserting that Legaspi was not entitled to the information. Legaspi instituted an action for mandamus from the Court to require that the information be provided. Issue: Ruling: The Court began by noting that both the 1973 (Art. IV, Sec. 6) and 1987 (Art. III, Sec. 7) constitutions recognize the right of the people to information on matters of public concern. Further, they specify that information shall be provided, subject only to limitations provided by law (pg. 1). While the Solicitor General interposed a procedural objection challenging the requester’s standing in this petition for mandamus, the Court ruled that, in this case, the people are regarded as the “real party in interest” and the requester, as a citizen interested in the execution of the laws, did not need to show any legal or special interest in the result (pg. 2). Further, government agencies have no discretion to refuse disclosure of, or access to, information of public concern because the Constitution guarantees access to information of public concern, a recognition of the essentiality of the free flow of ideas and information in a democracy (pg. 3-4). That is, the government agency denying information access has the burden to show that the information is not of public concern, or, if it is of public concern, that the information has been exempted by law from the operation of the guarantee (pg. 5). Here, the information was of a public concern because it is the legitimate concern of citizens to ensure that government positions requiring civil service eligibility are occupied only by eligible persons, and the Civil Service Commission failed to cite any law limiting the requester’s right to know (pg. 5). Thus, the Court ordered the Civil Service Commission to provide the information (pg. 6). Oh Cho v. Director of Lands Facts: Oh Cho, a Chinese citizen, purchased from the Lagdameos a parcel of land in Tayabas, which they openly, continuously, and adversely possessed since 1880. On January 17, 1940, Oh Cho applied for registration of this land. The Solicitor General opposed on the ground that Oh Cho lacked title to said land and also because he was an alien. Issues: Whether or not Oh Cho had title Whether or not Oh Cho is entitled to a decree of registration Ruling: Oh Cho failed to show that he has title to the lot, which may be confirmed under the Land Registration Act. All lands that were not acquired from the Government, either by purchase or by grant, belong to the public domain. An exception to the rule would be any land that should have been in the possession of an occupant and of his predecessors in interest since time immemorial, for such possession would justify the presumption that the land had never been part of the public domain or that it had been a private property even before the Spanish conquest. The applicant does not come under the exception, for the earliest possession of the lot by his first predecessor in interest began in 1880. Under the Public Land Act, Oh Cho is not entitled to a decree of registration of the lot, because he is an alien disqualified from acquiring lands of the public domain. Oh Cho's predecessors in interest would have been entitled toa decree of registration had they applied for the same. The application for the registration of the land was a condition precedent, which was not complied with by the Lagdameos. Hence, the most they had was mere possessory right, not title. This possessory right was what was transferred to Oh Cho, but since the latter is an alien, the possessory right could never ripen to ownership by prescription. As an alien, Oh Cho is disqualified from acquiring title over public land by prescription. The Director, Land Management Bureau v. CA Facts: Respondent Aquilino Cariño filed a petition for registration for Lot 6 which is a sugar land claimed to be owned by his mother of whom after she died he became the administrator of the property in behalf of his brothers and sisters. By virtue of a deed of extrajudicial settlement, he became the sole owner of the property. Report from the land investigator showed that the lot is agricultural in nature. Respondent claims that the improvements introduced were in the form of bamboo clumps, sugarcane and mango trees with the house of the tenant; that the land is free from claim and conflict and is not covered by existing public land application and no patent or title has been issued to it; that the respondent is on continuous, open and exclusive possession of the land as inherited from his deceased mother. Respondent is the sole witness for his petition and the only oppositor is the Bureau of Lands. The court granted the petition of the respondent. The petitioner filed a review for certiorari contending that the respondent failed to submit proof of his fee simple title and has not overthrown the presumption that the land is a portion of the public domain belonging to the state. Issue: Whether or not the respondent established proof of his muniment of title to merit registration of land in his favor? Ruling: The petition of the respondent is covered by the Land Registration Act providing that a person alleging in his petition or application ownership in fee simple must present muniments of title to substantiate his claim of ownership, presenting evidence of his possession in the concept of an owner in a manner and number of years required by law. The manner shall be open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession of the property known as agricultural land of the public domain for 30 years preceding the filing of application for confirmation (Commonwealth Act No. 141). Possession of public land however long never confers title upon the possessor unless occupant of the same is under claim of ownership for the required period. Even in the absence of opposition the court can deny registration of land under the Torrens System on ground that an applicant failed to establish his ownership by a fee simple on the property sought to be registered. The respondent only traced his own possession in the land in 1949 by virtue of extrajudicial settlement and order and at the same time he filed his application for registration in 1975 thus he was in possession of said land only for 26 years. His mere allegation that his mother was in possession of the land since 1911 is self serving and hearsay and is inadmissible as evidence. The tax receipts and tax declaration he offered as evidence do not substantiate clear proof of ownership. Thus, with his failure to prove that his predecessor-in-interest occupied the land under the condition laid down by law, he can only establish his possession of the land from 1949. Respondent failed to prove his muniment of title for the registration of the land under the Registration Act with failure to present convincing and positive proof of his continuous, open, uninterrupted and notorious occupation of lot 6 in the concept of an owner for at least 30 years. Republic v. Tri-Plus Corp. Facts: On April 30, 1997 Tri-Plus Corporation, through its president, Euclid C. Po, filed with the MTC of Consolacion, Metro Cebu, an Application for Registration of Title over two parcels of land designated as Lots 1061 and 1062 of the... cadastral survey of Consolacion, Cebu, containing an area of 3,939 and 4,796 square meters, respectively. Tri-Plus alleged that it is the owner in fee simple of the subject parcels of... land, including the improvements thereon, having acquired the same through purchase; and that it is in actual, continuous, public, notorious, exclusive and peaceful possession of the subject properties in the concept of an owner for more than 30 years, including that of its... predecessors-in- interest. The trial court received an Opposition to the Application for Registration filed by the Republic... on the grounds that neither the applicant nor its predecessors-in-interest have been in... open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the land in question since June 12, 1945 or prior thereto... muniments of title submitted by the applicant which consists, among others, of tax declarations and receipts of tax payments, do not... constitute competent and sufficient evidence of a bona fide acquisition of the land... the claim of ownership... in fee simple on the basis of a Spanish title or grant may no longer be availed of by the applicant because it failed to file an appropriate application for registration in accordance with the provisions of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 892; and that the subject parcels of land... are portions of the public domain belonging to the Republic MTC made the following finding and conclusion... applicant clearly shows that it and its predecessors-in-interest had been in actual, public, exclusive and continuous possession in concept of owner of the parcels of land above-mentioned for no... less than thirty (30) years prior to the filing... the Land Registration Authority (LRA), through its Director on Registration, submitted a Report This Authority is not in a position to verify whether or not the parcels of land subject of registration are already covered by land patent CA rendered the presently assailed Decision finding no reversible error in the appealed judgment, thereby, affirming the same. Issues: ERROR IN NOT FINDING THAT RESPONDENT FAILED TO DISCHARGE THE BURDEN OF PROVING THAT THE PROPERTY IS ALIENABLE AND DISPOSABLE ERROR IN NOT FINDING THAT RESPONDENT IS DISQUALIFIED FROM ACQUIRING LANDS OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN Ruling: Court finds the petition meritorious... while the subject lands were properly identified, the Court finds that respondent failed to comply with the other legal requirements for its application for registration to be granted. Applicants for confirmation of imperfect title must prove the following: (a) that the land forms part of the alienable and disposable agricultural lands of the public domain; and (b) that they have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of... the same under a bona fide claim of ownership either since time immemorial or since June 12, 1945. respondent failed to prove the first requirement that the properties sought to be titled forms part of the alienable and disposable agricultural lands of the public domain Section 6 of Commonwealth Act No. 141... provides that the classification and reclassification of public lands into alienable or disposable, mineral or forest land is the prerogative of the Executive Department. Under the Regalian doctrine, which is embodied in our Constitution, all lands of the public domain belong to the State, which is the source of any asserted right to any ownership of land. All lands not appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. public lands not shown to have been reclassified or released as alienable agricultural land or alienated to a private person by the State remain part of the inalienable public domain... the only evidence to prove the character of the subject lands as required by law is the notation appearing in the Advance Plan stating in effect that the said properties are alienable and disposable. However, this is hardly the kind of proof required by law. an applicant must establish the existence of a positive act of the government such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order, an administrative action, investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators, and a legislative act or statute... applicant may also secure a certification from the Government that the lands applied for are alienable and disposable Respondents... failed to submit a certification from the proper government agency to prove that the lands subject for registration are indeed alienable and disposable by simple arithmetic, the testimony of Frias proves that he came to possess Lot 1062 only in 1947. While he testified that Lot 1062 was previously owned by his father and that he inherited the property from his parents, no evidence was presented to show that the latter indeed previously owned the said property and that they had been in possession of the... same on or before June 12, 1945. the subject properties were declared for taxation purposes beginning only in 1961. While belated declaration of a property for taxation purposes does not necessarily negate the fact of possession,... tax declarations or realty tax payments of property are, nevertheless, good indicia of possession in the concept of an owner, for no one in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in his actual, or at least, constructive possession... respondent failed to explain why, despite the claim of its predecessors-in interest that they possessed the subject properties in the concept of an owner as early as 1947, it was only in 1961 that they started to declare the same for purposes... of taxation. no basis in concluding that these lands have already become private. The presumption... remains that said properties remain part of the inalienable public domain and, therefore, could not become the subject of confirmation of imperfect title. while it is an acknowledged policy of the State to promote the distribution of alienable public lands as a spur to economic growth and in line with the ideal of social justice, the law imposes stringent safeguards upon the grant of such resources lest they fall into the... wrong hands to the prejudice of the national patrimony... petition is GRANTED Secretary of DENR v. Yap Facts: The Court of Appeals affirmed RTC Kalibo’s decision to grant the petition for declaratory relief filed by Boracay Mayor Jose Yap et al. to have a judicial confirmation of imperfect title or survey of land for titling purposes for the land they have been occupying in Boracay. Yap et al alleged that Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 raised doubts on their right to secure titles over their occupied lands. They declared that they themselves, or through their predecessors-in-interest, had been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation in Boracay since June 12, 1945, or earlier since time immemorial. They declared their lands for tax purposes and paid realty taxes on them. Later in 2006, President Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 1064 classifying Boracay Island into 400 hectares of reserved forest land and 628.96 hectares of agricultural land (alienable and disposable). Issue: Whether Proclamation No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82 pose any legal obstacle for respondents, and all those similarly situated, to acquire title to their occupied lands in Boracay Island. Ruling: The SC ruled against Yap et al. and Sacay et al. Yes, because the Philippine Bill of 1902, Act No. 926, and Proclamation No. 1801 did not convert portions of Boracay Island into an agricultural land. The island remained an unclassified land of the public domain and, applying the Regalian doctrine, is considered State property. The Regalian Doctrine dictates that all lands of the public domain belong to the State, that the State is the source of any asserted right to ownership of land and charged with the conservation of such patrimony. All lands that have not been acquired from the government, either by purchase or by grant, belong to the State as part of the inalienable public domain. Private claimants’ bid for judicial confirmation of imperfect title, relying on the Philippine Bill of 1902, Act No. 926, and Proclamation No. 1801, must fail because of the absence of the second element of alienable and disposable land. Their entitlement to a government grant under our present Public Land Act presupposes that the land possessed and applied for is already alienable and disposable. Where the land is not alienable and disposable, possession of the land, no matter how long, cannot confer ownership or possessory rights. It is plain error for petitioners to argue that under the Philippine Bill of 1902 and Public Land Act No. 926, mere possession by private individuals of lands creates the legal presumption that the lands are alienable and disposable. Except for lands already covered by existing titles, Boracay was an unclassified land of the public domain prior to Proclamation No. 1064. Such unclassified lands are considered public forest under PD No. 705. The private claimants cannot apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect title under Proclamation No. 1064, with respect to those lands which were classified as agricultural lands. Private claimants failed to prove the first element of open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession of their lands in Boracay since June 12, 1945. Tano vs Socrates Facts: On Dec 15, 1992, the Sangguniang Panglungsod ng Puerto Princesa enacted an ordinance banning the shipment of all live fish and lobster outside Puerto Princesa City from January 1, 1993 to January 1, 1998. Subsequently the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Provincial Government of Palawan enacted a resolution prohibiting the catching , gathering, possessing, buying, selling, and shipment of a several species of live marine coral dwelling aquatic organisms for 5 years, in and coming from Palawan waters. Petitioners filed a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition, praying that the court declare the said ordinances and resolutions as unconstitutional on the ground that the said ordinances deprived them of the due process of law, their livelihood, and unduly restricted them from the practice of their trade, in violation of Section 2, Article XII and Sections 2 and 7 of Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution. Issue: Are the challenged ordinances unconstitutional? Ruling: No. The Supreme Court found the petitioners contentions baseless and held that the challenged ordinances did not suffer from any infirmity, both under the Constitution and applicable laws. There is absolutely no showing that any of the petitioners qualifies as a subsistence or marginal fisherman. Besides, Section 2 of Article XII aims primarily not to bestow any right to subsistence fishermen, but to lay stress on the duty of the State to protect the nation’s marine wealth. The so-called “preferential right” of subsistence or marginal fishermen to the use of marine resources is not at all absolute. In accordance with the Regalian Doctrine, marine resources belong to the state and pursuant to the first paragraph of Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution, their “exploration, development and utilization...shall be under the full control and supervision of the State. In addition, one of the devolved powers of the LCG on devolution is the enforcement of fishery laws in municipal waters including the conservation of mangroves. This necessarily includes the enactment of ordinances to effectively carry out such fishery laws within the municipal waters. In light of the principles of decentralization and devolution enshrined in the LGC and the powers granted therein to LGUs which unquestionably involve the exercise of police power, the validity of the questioned ordinances cannot be doubted. Republic v. Davao Facts: The City of Davao filed an application with the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) for a Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC) for its proposed project, the Davao City Artica Sports Dome. The EMB denied the application on the ground that the proposed project was within an environmentally critical area and thus, the City of Davao should secure an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) instead of a CNC. The City of Davao filed a petition for mandamus and injunction alleging that “its proposed project was neither an environmentally critical project nor within an environmentally critical area, thus, it was outside the scope of the [Environmental Impact Assessment] system.” The City of Davao argued that it was the ministerial duty of the EMB to issue the CNC after the submission of the required documents. The trial court granted the petition and issued a writ of mandamus compelling the EMB to issue a CNC. The trial court also ruled that a local government unit (LGU) is not covered under the EIS system. “The petitioners in this case filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied. Hence, they filed a petition for review. Issue: Whether local governments are covered under the EIS system. Ruling: Yes, local governments are within the scope of the EIS system. Although the petition has been rendered moot and academic by virtue of a change of administration which filed a manifestation agreeing with the petitioner, the Court continued to decide the case. The Court ruled that local governments are within the scope of the EIS System. Section 16 of the Local Government Code provides that it is the duty of the LGUs to promote the peoples’ right to a balanced ecology. “Pursuant to this, an LGU, like the City of Davao, can not claim exemption from the coverage of [the EIS system]. As a body politic endowed with governmental functions, an LGU has the duty to ensure the quality of the environment, which is the very same objective of the EIS system.” Furthermore, Section 4 of PD No. 1586 provides that “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 Civil Code defines a person as either natural or juridical. The State and its political subdivisions, i.e., the local government units are juridical persons. Undoubtedly therefore, local government units are not excluded from the coverage of PD No. 1586.” Bangus Fry Fisherfolk v. Lanzanas Facts: On June 30, 1997, Regional Executive Director Antonio G. Principe (RED Principe) of Region IV, DENR issued an Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC) in favor of National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR). The ECC authorized NAPOCOR to construct a temporary mooring facility in Minolo Cove, Sitio Minolo, Barangay San Isidro, Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro, despite the fact that the Sangguniang Bayan of Puerto Galera has declared Minolo Cove, a mangrove area and breeding ground for bangus fry, an eco-tourist zone. Petitioners, who claim to be fisherfolks from the area sought reconsideration of the ECC issuance. This, however, was denied. As a result, petitioners filed a complaint with Manila Regional Trial Court, Branch 7, for the cancellation of the ECC and for the issuance of a writ of injunction to stop the construction of the mooring facility. The trial court issued a temporary restraining order but this was lifted later on. Respondents ORMECO and the provincial officials of Oriental Mindoro moved to dismiss the complaint for failure of the petitioners to exhaust administrative remedies. Petitioners claim that there was no need for exhaustion of remedies and claim that the issuance of the ECC was a violation a DENR DAO No. 96-37 on the documentation of ECC applications. Issues: (1) Whether administrative remedies should have been first exhausted before resorting to the courts. (2) Whether the issuance of the Environmental Compliance Certificate violated the DENR DAO No. 96-37. Ruling: Yes. Administrative remedies should have been first exhausted and the issuance of the ECC violated DENR DAO No. 96-37. Petitioners bypassed the DENR Secretary and immediately filed their complaint with the Manila Regional Trial Court, depriving the DENR Secretary the opportunity to review the decision of his subordinate. Under the Procedural Manual for DAO 96-37 and applicable jurisprudence, petitioners’ omission renders their complaint dismissible for lack of cause of action. The Manila Regional Trial Court therefore did not err in dismissing petitioners’ complaint for lack of cause of action. Furthermore, PD No. 1605 provides that the construction of any commercial structure within the coves and waters embraced by Puerto Galera Bay, as protected by Medio Island, is prohibited. PD No. 1605 does not apply to this case. The mooring facility is obviously a government-owned public infrastructure intended to serve a basic need of the people of Oriental Mindoro. The mooring facility is not a “commercial structure; commercial or semi-commercial wharf or commercial docking” as contemplated in Section 1 of PD No. 1605. Therefore, the issuance of the ECC does not violate PD No. 1605 which applies only to commercial structures like wharves, marinas, hotels and restaurants. Technology Developers v. CA The authority of the local executive to protect the community from pollution is the center of this controversy. Facts: Sta. Maria, Bulacan Mayor Cruz through a letter ordered the full cessation and operation of the petitioner, Technology Developers, a domestic private corporation engaged in the manufacture and export of charcoal briquette. The same letter requests the following: Building Permit and Mayor’s Permit among others. Petitioner failed to secure the Mayor’s permit. On April 6, 1989, without previous and reasonable notice upon petitioner, respondent acting mayor ordered the Municipality's station commander to padlock the premises of petitioner's plant, thus effectively causing the stoppage of its operation. Left with no recourse, petitioner instituted an action for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus with preliminary injunction against private respondent to which the respondent judge ruled in favor of the petitioner, ordering the Mayor Cruz to revoke his closure order. Private respondent filed his motion for reconsideration submitting pertinent documents, as follows: investigation report on the petitioner, finding that the fumes coming from the factory which may be hazardous to the health of people; signatures of residents and; a letter complaint addressed to Bulacan governor. The lower court issued an order setting aside the order which granted a Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction, and dissolving the writ consequently issued. A motion for reconsideration dated July 6, 1989 was filed by petitioner. Said motion drew an opposition dated July 19, 1989 from private respondent. Resolving the petitioner's motion for reconsideration, the respondent judge issued an order dated August 9, 1989, denying said motion for reconsideration.1 Hence a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction was filed by petitioner in the Court of Appeals seeking to annul and set aside (a) the order issued by the trial court on June 14, 1989, setting aside the order dated April 28, 1989, and (b) the order of August 9, 1989, denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the order of June 14, 1989. In due course the petition was denied for lack of merit by the appellate court in a decision dated January 26, 1990.2 A motion for reconsideration thereof filed by petitioner was denied on August 10, 1990. Thus, the herein petition for review on certiorari filed with this Court. Six errors are alleged to have been committed by the appellate court which may be synthesized into the singular issue of whether or not the appellate court committed a grave abuse of discretion in rendering its question decision and resolution. Hence this petition for certiorari. Issue: Whether or not the appellate court committed grave abuse of discretion in rendering its question decision and resolution. Ruling: No. The well-known rule is that the matter of issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is addressed to the sound judicial discretion of the trial court and its action shall not be disturbed on appeal unless it is demonstrated that it acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction or otherwise, in grave abuse of its discretion. By the same token the court that issued such a preliminary relief may recall or dissolve the writ as the circumstances may warrant. The writ of preliminary injunction sought by petitioner could not be sustained because: 1. No mayor's permit had been secured. While it is true that the matter of determining whether there is a pollution of the environment that requires control if not prohibition of the operation of a business is essentially addressed to the then National Pollution Control Commission of the Ministry of Human Settlements, now the Environmental Management Bureau of DENR, it must be recognized that the mayor of a town has as much responsibility to protect its inhabitants from pollution, and by virture of his police power, he may deny the application for a permit to operate a business or otherwise close the same unless appropriate measures are taken to control and/or avoid injury to the health of the residents of the community from the emissions in the operation of the business. 2. The Acting Mayor, in a letter of February 16, 1989, called the attention of petitioner to the pollution emitted by the fumes of its plant whose offensive odor "not only pollute the air in the locality but also affect the health of the residents in the area," so that petitioner was ordered to stop its operation until further orders and it was required to bring the following: (1) Building permit; (2) Mayor's permit; and (3) Region III-Department of Environment and Natural Resources Anti-Pollution permit. 3. This action of the Acting Mayor was in response to the complaint of the residents of Barangay Guyong, Sta. Maria, Bulacan, directed to the Provincial Governor through channels.The alleged NBI finding that some of the signatures in the four-page petition were written by one person,5 appears to be true in some instances, (particularly as among members of the same family), but on the whole the many signatures appear to be written by different persons. The certification of the barrio captain of said barrio that he has not received any complaint on the matter6 must be because the complaint was sent directly to the Governor through the Acting Mayor. 4. The closure order of the Acting Mayor was issued only after an investigation was made by Marivic Guina who in her report of December 8, 1988 observed that the fumes emitted by the plant of petitioner goes directly to the surrounding houses and that no proper air pollution device has been installed.7 5. Petitioner failed to produce a building permit from the municipality of Sta. Maria, but instead presented a building permit issued by an official of Makati on March 6,1987. 6. While petitioner was able to present a temporary permit to operate by the then National Pollution Control Commission on December 15, 1987, the permit was good only up to May 25, 1988.9 Petitioner had not exerted any effort to extend or validate its permit much less to install any device to control the pollution and prevent any hazard to the health of the residents of the community. All these factors, among others, justify the dissolution of the writ of preliminary injunction by the trial court and the appellate court correctly upheld the action of the lower court. Petitioner takes note of the plea of petitioner focusing on its huge investment in this dollarearning industry. It must be stressed however, that concomitant with the need to promote investment and contribute to the growth of the economy is the equally essential imperative of protecting the health, nay the very lives of the people, from the deleterious effect of the pollution of the environment. Mead v. Argel The issue posed for determination in this case is whether or not a Provincial Fiscal has the authority to file an information for a violation of Republic Act No. 3931, entitled "An Act Creating a National Water and Air Pollution Control Commission." Petitioner Donald Mead and a certain Isaac Arivas were charged by the Provincial Fiscal of Rizal with a violation of Section 9, in relation to Section 10 of Republic Act No. 3931, under an information reading as follows: "That on or about the 23rd day of August, 1972, and for some time prior and subsequent thereto, in the municipality of Malabon, province of Rizal, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being then the president and the general manager, respectively, of the Insular Oil Refinery Co. (INSOIL), a corporation duly organized in accordance with existing laws, conspiring and confiderating together and mutually helping and aiding one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously drain or otherwise dispose into the highway canal and/or cause, permit, suffer to be drained or allow to seep into such waterway the industrial and other waste matters discharged due to the operation of the said Insular Oil Re­finery Co. so managed and operated by them, thereby causing pollution of such waterway with the resulting damage and/or destruction to the living plants in the vicinity and providing hazard to health and property in the same vicinity." The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. C-5984-75 and it was subsequently assigned to Branch XXXV of the Court of First Instance of Rizal ( Caloocan City) presided over by the respondent Judge. On August 11, 1975, petitioner Donald Mead, one of the accused in the criminal case, filed a motion to quash on the grounds that the trial court has no jurisdiction and that the Provincial Fiscal of Rizal has no legal personality to file the above-quoted information. The motion to quash was denied by the respondent Judge in an Order dated September 5, 1975. A Motion For Reconsideration filed by the petitioner was also denied by the respondent Judge in his Order of November 10, 1965. Hence, this petition for certiorari with preliminary injunction to annul the said orders of the respondent Judge who allegedly acted in excess of or without jurisdiction in issuing the same. In Our Resolution dated November 28, 1975, the respondents were required to comment on the petition and a temporary restraining order was issued to enjoin the respondent Judge from enforcing his questioned orders until otherwise directed by this Court. It is the principal contention of the petitioner that the National Water and Air Pollution Control Commission (hereinafter referred to as the "Commission") as created under Republic Act No. 3931 has the exclusive authority to determine the existence of "pollution" before a criminal case can be filed for a violation of the said law; and that it has the exclusive authority to prosecute violations of the same. Petitioner further avers that the Commission not having finally ruled that the petitioner has violated Republic Act No. 3931, the Provincial Fiscal of Rizal lacks the authority to prosecute the petitioner for a violation of said law. The respondents, on the other hand, maintain that while Republic Act No. 3931 grants the power and duty to the Commission to investigate and prosecute violations of Republic Act No. 3931, such grant of power and authority is not exclusive, and does not deprive fiscals and other public prosecutors of their authority to investigate and prosecute violations of the said law committed within their respective jurisdictions. Before discussing the main issue on its merits, We deem it necessary to resolve a procedural question raised by the respondents in support of their prayer that the instant petition should not be entertained. Respondents advert to the rule that when a motion to quash filed by an accused in a criminal case shall be denied, the remedy of the accused-movant is not to file a petition for certiorari or mandamus or prohibition, the proper recourse being to go to trial, without prejudice to his right to reiterate the grounds invoked in his motion to quash if an adverse judgment is rendered against him, in the appeal that he may take therefrom in the manner authorized by law. (Mill vs. People, et al. 101 Phil. 599; Echarol vs. Purisima, et al., 13 SCRA 309.) There is no disputing the validity and wisdom of the rule invoked by the respondents. However, it is also recognized that, under certain situations, recourse to the extraordinary legal remedies of certiorari, prohibition or mandamus to question the denial of a motion to quash is considered proper in the interest of "more enlightened and substantial justice", as was so declared in "Yap vs. Lutero”, G.R. No. L-12669, April 30, 1959, 105 Phil. 3007: "However, were we to require adherence to this pretense, the case at bar would have to be dismissed and petitioner required to go through the inconvenience, not to say the mental agony and torture, of submitting himself to trial on the merits in Case No. 16443, apart from the expenses incidental thereto, despite the fact that his trial and conviction therein would violate one of his constitutional rights, and that, an appeal to this Court, we would, therefore, have to set aside the judgment of conviction of the lower court. This would, obviously, be most unfair and unjust. Under the circumstances obtaining in the present case, the flaw in the procedure followed by petitioner herein may be overlooked, in the interest of a more enlightened and substantial justice." To the same effect is the pronouncement in "Pineda and Ampil Manufacturing Co., vs. Bartolome, et al.” 95 Phil., 930-938, expressed as follows: "While a denial of a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction was held not to be a proper basis for a petition for certiorari [Nico vs. Blanco, 46 Off. Gaz., Supp. (1) 88; 81 Phil., 213], or an appeal and not certiorari is the proper remedy for correcting an error which a lower court may commit in denying a motion to set aside a judgment, or in setting aside an order of dismissal, [Rios vs. Ros, et al., 45 Off. Gaz. (No. 3) 1265; 79 Phil., 243; Santos vs. Pecson, 45 Off. Gaz. (No. 3), 1278; 79 Phil., 754] however, in some instances, the Supreme Court has departed from the general rule and has entertained the writ notwithstanding the existence of an appeal. Thus, in one case the Supreme Court took cognizance of a petition for certiorari notwithstanding the fact that the accused could have appealed in due time when it found that the action was necessary to promote public welfare and public policy (People vs. Zulueta, 89 Phil., 880). In another case, a petition for certiorari to annul an order of the trial judge admitting an amended information was entertained although the accused had an adequate remedy by appeal 'inasmuch as the Surplus Property cases have attracted nationwide attention, making it essential to proceed with dispatch in the consideration thereof.' (People vs. Zulueta, supra. Citing Arevalo vs. Nepomuceno, 63 Phil., 627.) And still in another case, the writ was entertained where the appeal was found not to be adequate remedy, as where the order which is sought to be reviewed is merely of interlocutory or peremptory character, and the appeal therefrom can be interposed only after final judgment and may therefore be of no avail. (Rocha vs. Cross-field, 6 Phil., 355; Leung Ben vs. O'Brien, 38 Phil., 182. See also Mendoza vs. Paruñgao, 49 Phil., 271; Dais vs. Court of First Instance, 51 Phil., 36). For analogous reasons it may be said that the petition for certiorari interposed by the accused against the order of the court a quo denying the motion to quash may be entertained, not only because it was rendered in a criminal case, but because it was rendered, as claimed, with grave abuse of discretion, as found by the Court of Appeals. It would be indeed unfair and unjust, if not derogatory of their constitutional right, to force the accused to go to trial under an information which, in their opinion, as was found, accuses them of multiple offenses in contravention of law. And so, in our opinion, the respondent court did not err in entertaining the petition for certiorari instead of dismissing it, as claimed." The motion to quash filed by the accused in Yap vs. Lutero was on the ground of double jeopardy. In Pineda vs. Bartolome, the ground invoked was duplicity of offenses charged in the information. In the case at bar, the petitioner assails the very jurisdiction of the court wherein the criminal case was filed. Certainly, there is a more compelling reason that such issue be resolved soonest, in order to avoid the court's spending precious time and energy unnecessarily in trying and deciding the case, and to spare the accused from the inconvenience, anxiety and embarrassment, let alone the expenditure of effort and money, in undergoing trial for a case the proceedings in which could possibly be annuled for want of jurisdiction. Even in civil actions, We have counselled that when the court's jurisdiction is attacked in a motion to dismiss, it is the duty of the court to resolve the same as soon as possible in order to avoid the unwholesome consequences mentioned above. "It is also advanced that the present petition is premature, since respondent court has not definitely ruled on the motion to dismiss, nor held that it has jurisdiction, but only argument is untenable. The motion to dismiss was predicated on the respondent court's lack of jurisdiction to entertain the action; and the rulings of this Court are that writs of certiorari or prohibition, or both; may issue in case of a denial or deferment of action on such a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. 'If the question of jurisdiction were not the main ground for this petition for review by certiorari, it would be premature because it seeks to have a review of an interlocutory order. But as it would be useless and futile to go ahead with the proceedings if the court below had no jurisdiction this petition was given due course.' (San Beda vs. CIR, 51 O.G. 5636, 5638). 'While it is true that action on a motion to dismiss may be deferred until the trial and an order to that effect is interlocutory, still where it clearly appears that the trial judge or court is proceeding in excess or outside of its jurisdiction, the remedy of prohibition would lie since it would be useless and a waste of time to go ahead with the proceedings. (Philippine International Fair, Inc., et al. vs. Ibañez, et al., 50 Off. Gaz. 1036; Enrique vs. Macadaeg, et al., 47 Off. Gaz. 1207; see also San Beda College vs. CIR, 51 Off. Gaz. 5636.) ( University of Sto. Tomas vs. Villanueva, L-13748, 30 October 1959.)' " (Time, Inc. vs. Reyes, 39 SCRA, pp. 315-316.) An additional factor that induced Us to entertain the instant petition is the obvious merit We find in the same. Our reading of the provisions of Republic Act No. 3931 has convinced Us that the clear legislative intention is to vest in the Commission the exclusive authority to determine the existence of "pollution" penalized thereunder and to prosecute violations of said law. The information filed against the herein petitioner charges him with a violation of Section 9, in relation to Section 10 of Republic Act No. 3931. More specifically, it alleges that the petitioner, with his co-accused Isaac Arivas, "willfully, unlawfully and feloniously drain or otherwise dispose into the highway canal and/or cause, permit, suffer to be drained or allow to seep into such waterway the industrial and other waste matters discharged due to the operation of the said Insular Oil Refinery Co. so managed and operated by them, thereby causing pollution of such waterway with the resulting damage and/or destruction to the living plants in the vicinity and providing hazard to health and property in the same vicinity." Section 9 in its first paragraph, supposedly the criminal act being imputed to the petitioner, reads as follows: "SEC. 9 Prohibitions. — No person shall throw, run, drain, or otherwise dispose into any of the water and/or atmospheric air of the Philippines, or cause, permit, suffer to be thrown, run, drain, allow to see or otherwise dispose into such waters or atmospheric air, any organic or inorganic matter or any substance in gaseous or liquid form that shall cause pollution of such waters or atmospheric air." It will be noted from the above-quoted provision that the prohibited act is to throw, run, drain or otherwise dispose into any of the water and/or atmospheric air of the Philippines, any organic or inorganic matter or substance "that shall cause pollution of such waters or atmospheric air." Stated in simpler terms, the offense allegedly committed by the petitioner was the act of causing pollution of a waterway (highway canal). The term "pollution" as used in the law is not to be taken in its ordinary signification. In Section 2, paragraph (a), of Republic Act No. 3931, "pollution" is defined in these words: "(a) ‘Pollution' means such alteration of the physical, chemical and/or biological properties of any water and/or atmospheric air of the Philippines, or any such discharge of any liquid, gaseous or solid substance into any of the waters and/or atmospheric air of the country as will or is likely to create or ren­der such waters and/or atmospheric air harmful or detrimental or injurious to public health, safety or welfare, or to domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural, recreational or other legitimate uses, or to livestock, wild animals, birds, fish or other aquatic life." The power to determine the existence of pollution is vested by the law in the Commission. Section 6, among others, gives the Com­mission the authority to "determine whether a pollution exists in any of the waters and/or atmospheric air of the Philippines." (Section 6(a), No. 1); to "hold public hearings, x x x make findings of facts and determinations all with respect to the violations of this Act or orders issued by the Commission." (Ibid., No. 3); to "institute or cause to be instituted in the court of competent jurisdiction legal proceedings to compel compliance with the provisions of this Act" (Ibid., No. 5); and, "after due notice and hearing, revoke, suspend or modify any permit issued under this Act whenever modifications are necessary to prevent or abate pollution of any water and/or atmospheric air of the Philippines." ( Ibid., No. 7.) Section 8 contains explicit provisions as to the authority of the Commission to determine the existence of pollution and to take appropriate court actions to abate or prevent the same. It provides: "SEC. 8. Proceedings before Commission. — The Commission may, on its own motion; or upon the request of any person, investigate or may inquire, in a manner to be determined by it, as to any alleged act of pollution or the omission or failure to comply with any provisions of this Act or any order of this Commission. Whenever it appears to the Commission, after investigation, that there has been a violation of any of the provisions of this Act or any order of the Commission, it may order whoever causes such violation to show cause before said Commission why such discharge of industrial wastes or any waste should not be discontinued. A notice shall be served on the offending party directing him or it to show cause before the Commission, on a date specified in such notice, why an order should not be made directing the discontinuance of such violation. Such notice shall specify the time and the place where a public hearing will be held by the Commission or its authorized representatives, and notice of such hearing shall be served personally or by registered mail, at least ten days before said hearing; and in the case of a municipality or corporation such notice shall be served upon the mayor or president thereof. The Commission shall take evidence with reference to said matter and may issue an order to the party responsible for such violation, directing that within a specified period of time thereafter, such violation be discontinued unless ade­quate sewage works or industrial wastes disposal system be properly operated to prevent further damage or pollution. No investigation being conducted or ruling made by the Commission shall prejudice any action which may be filed in court by any person in accordance with the provisions of the New Civil Code on nuisance. On matters, however, not related to nuisance, no court action shall be initiated until the Commission shall have finally ruled thereon and no order of the Commission discontinuing the discharge of waste shall be stayed by the filing of said court action, unless the court issues an injunction as provided for in the Rules of Court." The last paragraph of the above-quoted provision delineates the authority to be exercised by the Commission and by the ordinary courts in respect of preventing or remedying the pollution of the waters or atmospheric air of the Philippines. The provision excludes from the authority of the Commission only the determination of and the filing of court actions involving violations of the New Civil Code on nuisance. It is expressly directed that on matters not related to nuisance "no court action shall be initiated until the Commission shall have finally ruled thereon." This provision leaves little room for doubt that a court action involving the determination of the existence of pollution may not be initiated until and unless the Commission has so determined the existence of what in the law is considered pollution. It may not be argued that the above-cited provision refers only to the filing of civil actions, and not to criminal cases as is the one herein involved, there being no basis either in the context in law nor from a consideration of the purpose behind the enactment of the same upon which such a distinction may be made. Indeed, respondents do not seriously question that the court action contem­plated in the last paragraph of Section 8 includes criminal proceedings. Respondents merely aver that the aforementioned grant of authority to the Commission is not exclusive of the power of Fiscals to file criminal actions for a violation of the provisions of Republic Act No. 3931. We are likewise not in accord with the view that the law intended to give concurrent authority to the Commission and Fiscals to prosecute violations of Republic Act No. 3931. It is true that there is no provision expressly declaring that the authority vested in the Commission to prosecute violations of Republic Act No. 3931 is exclusive. Using the same logic, there is neither a provision declaring such authority to be concurrent or may be exercised jointly with Fiscals. The absence of an explicit declaration as to the exclusive authority of the Commission to prosecute violations of the subject law does not detract from the clear intention to make it so, as gathered from the philosophy of the law itself and as gleaned from several provisions of the same. It is clearly dedu­cible from the provision of Section 8 expressly declaring that no court action shall be initiated, except those related to nuisance, until the Com­mission shall have finally ruled on the alleged act of pollution; and also from Section 6(a), No. 5, which authorizes the Commission to "initiate or cause to be instituted in a court of competent jurisdiction legal proceedings to compel compliance with the provisions of this Act." As may be seen from the law, the determination of the existence of pollution requires investigation, public hearings and the collection of various information relating to water and atmospheric pollution. (Sec­tions 6, 7, and 8.) The definition of the term "pollution" in itself con­notes that the determination of its existence requires specialized know­ledge of technical and scientific matters which are not ordinarily within the competence of Fiscals or of those sitting in a court of justice. It is undoubtedly in recognition of this fact that in Section 4 of the law, it is provided that "the basic personnel necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act shall be engineers, chemists, bio-chemists, physicists, and other technicians"; and required in Section 3 that the Chairman of the Commission shall be the Chairman of the National Science Development Board, one of the part-time commissioners shall be a recommendee of the Philippine Council of Science and Technology, and one of the two full-time commissioner shall be a sanitary engineer. The vesting of authority in an administrative body to determine when to institute a criminal action for a violation of the law entrusted to it for administration or enforcement, to the exclusion of the regular prosecution service of the government, is not new in this jurisdiction. It is recognized in Yao Lit vs. Geraldez, et al., 106 Phil. 545 which upheld the exclusive authority of the Commissioner of Immigration to investigate and impose administrative fines upon violators of the provisions of Republic Act No. 751 for the reason that said official "has better facilities than the prosecuting officials to carry out the provisions of the said Act, the former official being the keeper of the records pertaining to aliens." The same principle has been recognized with respect to the prosecutions of viola­tions of the Anti-Dummy Law (Republic Act No. 1131.) In holding that the City Fiscal of Manila has no authority to prosecute such violations independently of the AntiDummy Board, it was said: "Were the city fiscal or the provincial fiscals who have the power or right to prosecute violations of all laws and ordinances allowed to prosecute violations of the Anti-Dummy Board, there would be no order, concert, cooperation, and coordination between the said agencies of the government. The function of coordination which is entrusted to the Anti-Dummy Board is evident from all the above-quoted provisions of Republic Act No. 1130. There can be no coordina­tion as envisioned in the law unless the Anti-Dummy Board be given the power to direct and control the city fiscal in the prosecutions of the violations of the Anti-Dummy Law." (Rollo, p. 118; 5 SCRA, 428, 433.) In R. B. Industrial Development Co., Ltd. vs. Enage (24 SCRA 365) involving the authority of the Bureau of Forestry over the management and use of public forests and the transfer of licenses for the taking of forest products, this Court has made this pronouncement: "A doctrine long recognized is that where the law confines in an administrative office the power to determine particular questions or matters, upon the facts to be presented, the jurisdiction of such office shall prevail over the courts." (p. 124, Rollo.) It is our considered view that the Provincial Fiscal of Rizal lacked the authority to file the information charging the petitioner with a violation of the provisions of Republic Act No. 3931 there being no prior finding or determination by the Commission that the act of the petitioner had caused pollution in any water or atmospheric air of the Philippines. It is not to be understood, however, that a fiscal or public prosecutor may not file an information for a violation of the said law at all. He may do so if the Commission had made a finding or determination that the law or any of its orders had been violated. In the criminal case presently considered, there had been no prior determination by the Commission that the supposed acts of the petitioner had caused pollution to any water of the Philippines. The filing of the information for the violation of Section 9 of the law is, therefore, premature and unauthorized. Concommittantly, the respondent Judge is without juris­diction to take cognizance of the offense charged therein. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby granted and the questioned Or­ders of the respondent Judge are hereby annuled and set aside. The res­pondent Judge is ordered to dismiss Criminal Case No. 5984-75 for lack of jurisdiction. No costs. SO ORDERED. Teehankee, (Chairman), Makasiar, Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Relova, and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur. Source: Supreme Court E-Library | Date created: December 09, 2014 This page was dynamically generated by the E-Library Content Management System Supreme Court E-Library Magbanua v. IAC Facts: In a civil case adjudicated by the defunct Court of Agrarian Relations, six plaintiffs who are the petitioners at bar all alleged the following: That they are share tenants of the defendants; that the defendants diverted the free flow of water from their farm lots which caused portions of their landholdings to dry up to their great damage and prejudice; and that they were told by the defendants' overseer to vacate their respective areas for they could not plant palay any longer due to lack of water. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs declaring them to be maintained as agricultural lessees in peaceful cultivation in their respective landholdings AND ordering the defendants to pay all them individually moral and exemplary damages in the sum of P10,000.00 each and the attorney's fees in the amount of P5,000.00, AMONG OTHERS. WHEREFORE, coherent with the foregoing, this Court, in judgment, hereby: Prohibits defendants from closing and/or disrupting the free flow of water supplying plaintiffs' landholdings; Declares the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued on February 23, 1982 to be permanent; Orders plaintiffs to seek the assistance of the Ministry of Agrarian Reforms in the fixing of their lease rentals; Dismiss all other claims and counterclaims of the parties for lack of merit (Rollo, pp. 28-29.) The defendants appealed to the Intermediate Appellate Court which in turn affirmed the previous judgment with modification deleting the award of moral and exemplary damages and attorney's fees. In this petition, the prayer is for the reinstatement of said moral and exemplary damages and the attorney's fees which had been awarded by the trial court on the ground that the Intermediate Appellate Court committed a grave abuse of discretion in eliminating them. Court of Agrarian Relations In awarding damages and attorney's fees, the trial court said: This Court has likewise noted the manifestation submitted by plaintiffs on June 3, 1982 wherein they have attached photographs of their dried-up landholdings and wilted palay crops. The allegations in this pleading and the accompanying pictures were never rebutted by the defendants. In view of this circumstances, this Court holds the opinion that between the period of the inspection by the PC Team on February 24, 1982 and June 13, 1982 when plaintiffs' manifestation was filed, there has been complete closure of water supplying plaintiffs' landholdings which resulted to the drying up of the same that greatly hampered the healthy growth of the palay crop. This Court does not believe that the disruption of the water supply which led to the very poor harvest is due to the fault/negligence of the plaintiffs. Under the law, the landowner has an obligation to keep the tenant in the peaceful and continuous cultivation of his landholding. A disturbance of possession, such as the act complained of, is violative of the law. The Honorable Court of Appeals, thru Associate Justice Porfirio V. Sison, in June 23, 1982, promulgated a decision in the case of Buenaventura Garcia, plaintiff-appellant, vs. Eduardo Jalandoni, Salud Garcia and Chester Garcia, defendant-appellees, which ruling is relevant to the above-entitled cases when the said Honorable Court state: The law forbids the use of tenants like balls on a pool table, whacked and volleyed and pocketed at the whim and caprice of the player, or their positions placed on the auction block like slaves to be sold to the highest bidder. Such a calamitous situation erode wholehearted dedication to the soil; it is destructive of the system itself, as such an attitude takes away the freedom the emancipated tenants won under the aegis of the New Republic. The plaintiff-appellant is entitled to moral damages in the sum of P5,000.00 and exemplary damages in the further sum of P5,000.00 to be paid by defendant Eduardo Jalandoni. Let this be a warning to those who flout the lofty purpose of the agrarian reform program. Plaintiffs have all their legal rights to protect their interests under the law in filing these cases, for what the defendants have done to them, and as such they are entitled attorney's fees. (Rollo, pp. 27-28.) Intermediate Appellate Court Upon the other hand, in deleting the questioned award the Intermediate Appellate Court said: However, We are not inclined to sustain the award of moral and exemplary damages, as well as attorney's fees. There is no evidence showing that, in dealing with plaintiffs, defendants acted fraudulently or in bad faith. There is no showing either that attorney's fees are recoverable under Art: 2208, Civil Code. (Rollo, P. 37.) Issue: Whether or not the plaintiffs are entitled for damages Ruling: Yes. Under the facts of the case, the plaintiffs are entitled to a measure of moral damages. Article 2219 of the Civil Code permits the award of moral damages for acts mentioned in Article 21 of the same code and the latter stipulates that: "Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage." It appears that the petitioners were denied irrigation water for their farm lots in order to make them vacate their landholdings. The defendants violated the plaintiffs' rights and caused prejudice to the latter by the unjustified diversion of the water. The petitioners are also entitled to exemplary damages because the defendants acted in an oppressive manner. (Art. 2232. Civil Code. In contracts or quasi-contracts, the court may award exemplary damages if the defendant acted with wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent manner.) It follows from the foregoing that the petitioners are also entitled to attorney's fees but the size of the fees as well as the damages is subject to the sound discretion of the court. WHEREFORE, the petition is granted; the decision under review is modified and each of the plaintiffs is entitled to the following to be paid by the defendants jointly and severally: Moral damages — P1,000.00 Exemplarly damages — 500.00 Attorney's fees — 1,000.00 P2,500.00 The costs shall be assessed against the private respondents. SECOND DIVISION [ G.R. No. 74816, March 17, 1987 ] ERNESTO R. RODRIGUEZ, JR., ERNESTO LL. RODRIGUEZ III, SACHA DEL ROSARIO, JOSE P. GENITO, ZENAIDA Z. RODRIGUEZ, AND ENECERIO MONDIA, PETITIONERS, VS. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT AND DAYTONA CONSTRUCTION & DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, RESPONDENTS. DECISION PARAS, J.: Before Us is a petition to review by certiorari 1) respondent court's decision which sets aside the order of default rendered by the trial court and 2) respondent court's resolution dated April 18, 1986 denying petitioners' (plaintiffs-appellees' therein) motion for extension of time to file motion for reconsideration of its decision. The antecedent facts of the case are as follows: Plaintiffs (petitioners herein) filed on December 16, 1980, an action for abatement of a public nuisance with damages against defendant (private respondent herein). After being granted four (4) extensions of time to file an answer, defendant moved to dismiss the complaint on February 27, 1981 upon the ground that the lower court has no jurisdiction to hear the instant case and for lack of cause of action. However, the motion was denied by the court on April 3, 1981, a copy of which decision was received by the defendant on April 23, 1981. On May 5, 1981 defendant filed a motion for reconsideration which motion was denied on July 7, 1981. Instead of filing an answer, petitioner filed with Us in G.R. No. 57593, Daytona Construction & Development Corporation vs. Rodriguez, et al. a motion for extension of time to file a petition for review, but it never filed one, prompting Us to issue a resolution dated October 5, 1981 informing the parties and the trial court that no petition for review was filed within the period that expired on August 15, 1981. Upon motion of plaintiffs, the court declared the defendant in default on November 4, 1981, and authorized the plaintiffs to present evidence ex-parte. Upon learning of the said order, the defendant on November 9, 1981 filed a motion to set aside the order of default and a motion to admit answer with counterclaim which motions were denied by the lower court in an order dated November 23, 1981. On June 30, 1982, the court a quo rendered judgment for the plaintiffs and against defendant, its dispositive portion reading as follows: "WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows: Declaring the operation of the cement batching plant of the defendant corporation as a nuisance and ordering its permanent closure; Ordering the defendant to pay plaintiff Ernesto Rodriguez, Jr. the amount of P250,000.00 as moral damages and the amount of P5,000.00 as nominal damages; Ordering the defendant to pay plaintiff Ernesto Ll. Rodriguez III the amount of P200,000.00 as actual damages, the amount of P500,000.00 as moral damages and the amount of P5,000.00 as nominal damages; Ordering the defendant to pay plaintiff Sacha del Rosario the amount of P20,000.00 as actual damages, the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages and the amount of P5,000.00 as nominal damages; Ordering the defendant to pay plaintiff Zenaida Z. Rodriguez the amount of P100,000.00 as actual damages, the amount of P100,000.00 as moral damages and the amount of P5,000.00 as nominal damages; and Ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiffs the amount of P50,000.00 as attorney's fees, plus the costs of suit. In an order dated July 9, 1982, the trial court upon motion of plaintiffs granted execution pending appeal it indeed appearing as alleged in the motion that the continued operation of the cement batching plant of the defendant poses a "great menace to the neighborhood, both in point of health and property." On July 23, 1982, defendant filed a petition for relief which was however denied by the lower court. On July 29, 1982, defendant filed a petition for injunction with the Intermediate Appellate Court which found the petition unmeritorious. The appellate court promulgated on October 5, 1983, a decision denying due course to defendant's petition. Its motion for reconsideration having been denied by the Appellate Court, defendant went on appeal by certiorari to the Supreme Court (G.R. No. 66097) which, after the submission of plaintiffs' comment and defendant's reply thereto, denied its petition for lack of merit. The petition for injunction having been denied by both the IAC and this Court, defendant pursued the remedy of appeal in respondent IAC, assigning the following errors: "I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT DECLARED APPELLANT IN DEFAULT DESPITE THE FACT THAT ITS FAILURE TO FILE ITS ANSWER ON TIME WAS DUE SOLELY TO THE NEGLIGENCE OF ITS COUNSEL AND DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE MOTION TO DISMISS THAT IT HAD FILED COULD HAVE VERY WELL STOOD AS THE ANSWER OF THE APPELLANT. "II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT ASSUMED JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE AND WHEN IT RENDERED JUDGMENT BY DEFAULT AGAINST THE APPELLANT ON GROUNDS AND/OR BASIS NOT ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST THE APPELLANT. "III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT DID NOT ALLOW RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT IN THE FACE OF THE REASONS PRESENTED TO IT AS BASIS FOR SUCH RELIEF. "IV. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN DESPITE THE APPEAL HAVING BEEN DULY PERFECTED, IT DETAINED THE CASE WITH IT AND THEREAFTER, ISSUED AN ALIAS WRIT OF EXECUTION PENDING APPEAL WITHOUT APPROPRIATE PRIOR NOTICE TO THE APPELLANT." (pp. 1-2, Appellant's Brief) On March 21, 1986, respondent court promulgated its decision, the decretal portion of which is as follows: "WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is hereby reversed and set aside and another one entered, remanding the case to the court of origin for further proceedings and thereafter, to render judgment accordingly." "No pronouncement as to costs." Notice of respondent Court's decision was received by plaintiffs-appellees thru counsel on April 3, 1986. Plaintiffs filed on April 15, 1986 a motion for extension of 30 days from April 18, 1986 or up to May 18, 1986 to file a motion for reconsideration. However, on May 10, 1986, they filed a 24-page motion for reconsideration. Meanwhile, on April 23, 1986, defendant's opposition to the motion for extension and countermotion to enter final judgment were received by plaintiffs. Plaintiffs countered with a reply filed April 29, 1986. (Annex "C-2") Plaintiffs' counsel was surprised to receive on April 24, 1986, respondent Court's resolution dated April 18, 1986, denying the motion for extension. Plaintiffs requested respondent Court to treat their aforesaid reply filed on April 29, 1986 as a motion for reconsideration of the said resolution of April 18, 1986, received by them on April 21, 1986, the request being contained in their opposition dated May 22, 1986, to defendant-appellant's motion to strike out the said opposition attached thereto as Annex "C-3". Neither the motion for reconsideration (converted from the reply filed on April 29, 1986) nor the motion for reconsideration of the decision itself was acted upon by respondent court. Hence this petition to review, petitioners alleging that "Respondent court's challenged resolution purporting to deny appellees' motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration is a nullity because the decision in Habaluyas v. Japson case, solely relied on by the said resolution has been made by the Supreme Court to operate prospectively and thereby rendered inapplicable to parties situated as petitioners are, in order precisely to spare them from unfair and unjust deprivation of their right to appeal." In Our resolution, promulgated May 30, 1986 in the Habaluyas case itself (G.R. No. 70895), We set aside the original judgment therein, thus: "However, the law and the Rules of Court do not expressly prohibit the filing of a motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration of a final order or judgment. "In the case of Gibbs vs. Court of First Instance (80 Phil. 160), the Court dismissed the petition for certiorari and ruled that the failure of defendant's attorney to file the petition to set aside the judgment within the reglementary period was due to excusable neglect, and, consequently, the record on appeal was allowed. The Court did not rule that the motion for extension of time to file a motion for new trial or reconsideration could not be granted. "In the case of Roque vs. Gunigundo (Administrative Case No. 1684, March 30, 1979, 89 SCRA 178), a division of the Court cited the Gibbs decision to support a statement that a motion to extend the reglementary period for filing the motion for reconsideration is not authorized or is not in order. "The Intermediate Appellate Court is sharply divided on this issue. Appeals have been dismissed on the basis of the original decision in this case. "After considering the able arguments of counsels for petitioners and respondents, the Court resolved that the interest of justice would be better served if the ruling in the original decision were applied prospectively from the time herein stated. The reason is that it would be unfair to deprive parties of their right to appeal simply because they availed themselves of a procedure which was not expressly prohibited or allowed by the law or the Rules. x x x" (pp. 3-4; Resolution dated May 30, 1986 in G.R. No. 70895; underscoring supplied) This Court further elucidated: "1.) Beginning one month after the promulgation of this Resolution, the rule shall be strictly enforced that no motion for extension of time to file a motion for new trial or reconsideration may be filed with the Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Courts, the Regional Trial Courts, and the Intermediate Appellate Court. Such a motion may be filed only in cases pending with the Supreme Court as the court of last resort, which may in its sound discretion either grant or deny the extension requested." (p. 4; underscoring supplied) The above new rules are made effective no earlier than June 30, 1986. In the instant case, respondent Court's decision was received by plaintiffs on April 3, 1986. Plaintiffs or petitioners herein filed on April 15, 1986 a motion for extension of 30 days from April 18, 1986 or up to May 18, 1986 to file a motion for reconsideration. On May 10, 1986, plaintiffs filed their motion for reconsideration. Plaintiffs' motion for extension of time was not intended for delay but upon showing of good cause, to wit: "for lack of material time due to heavy pressure of work on the part of petitioners' counsel presently taking charge thereof, what is more the counsel handling this case was doing so for the first time in substitution of Atty. Emmanuel Pelaez, who was recently appointed Philippine Ambassador to the U.S." It is clear therefore that petitioners' motion was based on good cause and was filed opportunely making the act of respondent Court unwarranted in denying petitioners' motion for extension of time to file its motion for reconsideration. Another important issue raised by the petitioners is that the "subject decision which purports to set aside the order of default rendered by the trial court is a nullity because respondent court arbitrarily ignored in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction 1) the conclusive effect of the trial court's final and unappealed order denying defendant's motion to set aside the default order," and 2) the res judicata effect of the appellate court's final judgment in the injunction case aforementioned upholding the trial court's order granting execution of its judgment pending appeal and, necessarily, the default order as well 3) the law of the case effect of the appellate court's express ruling in the said injunction case sustaining the default order. Petitioners' contentions merit our consideration. It has been Our consistent ruling that a default order, being interlocutory, is not appealable but an order denying a motion or petition to set aside an order of default is not merely interlocutory but final and therefore immediately appealable. Since the trial court's order of November 13, 1981, denying defendant's motion to set aside the order of default was appealable but was not appealed by defendant, the necessary conclusion is that the default order became final. Clearly therefore, respondent Court committed a grave abuse of discretion in disregarding the finality of the default order. The validity and finality of the default order was upheld by the judgment of the Appellate Court in the injunction case (which passed upon the merits of the issuance of an order of execution pending appeal) by virtue of the principle of res judicata and the doctrine re the law of the case. There is no question that there were good reasons for the trial court to issue the order of execution pending appeal. The order categorically stated that there was a need for the closure and stoppage of the operation of defendant's (Daytona Construction) cement batching plant because it posed "a great menace to the neighborhood both in point of health and property." The trial court thus stated: "From the uncontroverted evidence presented by the plaintiffs, there is hardly any question that the cement dust coming from the batching plant of the defendant corporation is injurious to the health of the plaintiffs and other residents in the area. The noise, the vibration, the smoke and the odor generated by the day and night operation of the plant must indeed be causing them serious discomfort and untold miseries. Its operation therefore violates certain rights of the plaintiffs and causes them damage. It is thus a nuisance and its abatement justified." (Decision, p. 5; p. 90, Rollo) after taking into consideration evidence presented by plaintiffs (petitioners herein) as follows: "The evidence shows that the defendant is a domestic corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines with business address at 252 Don Mariano Marcos Avenue (actually South Zuzuarregui Avenue), Quezon City. It was issued by the Quezon City government a business permit (Exhibit B) for the manufacture of road and building concrete materials such as concrete aggregates, with cement batching plant. Among the conditions set forth in the permit are that the said batching plant shall (1) institute measures to prevent dust emission during the manual charging of cement from bags to the receiving hopper of the bucket elevator of the batching plant; (2) remove all sediment deposit in the settling of tank for process water and proper maintenance should be observed at all times. While the original permit issued to the defendant stated that its operation at the place shall 'not (be) beyond Dec. 31, 1979' (Exhibit B2), it was somehow allowed to operate way beyond said period. "Plaintiff Ernesto Ll. Rodriguez III testified that he has three parcels of residential lots adjacent to the Daytona compound. He informed the Court that his property, with an area of 8,892 square meters has been over-run by effluence from the cement batching plant of the defendant. The sediment settled on the lots and all forms of vegetation have died as a result, and the land tremendously diminished in value. His three lots are located in a prime residential zone and each square meter in the area is easily valued at P500.00. While he would like to sell at least a part of his property, he finds no buyer because of its condition. It would cost him no less than P250,000.00 to be able to repair the damage done to his property, and since its present condition has been existing during the last five years, he claimed that the interest on his loss would be about P5,000.00. He has agreed to his counsel's fee of P200,000.00. Zenaida Rodriguez testified that she owns a lot with an area of 1,500 square meters. Two thirds of this area has been damaged by the cement dust, emanating from the defendant's cement batching plant. The continous flow of cement dust into her property affected her deep well, their source of drinking water, and most of their fruit-bearing and ornamental trees dried up. She also said that she has had sleepless nights and became nervous as a result of the batching plant operation. Even her previous pedigreed poodles have been afflicted by all sorts of illnesses, many of them dying in the process. She claimed to have sustained damages amounting to P370,000.00. "Sacha del Rosario testified that her house has to close its windows most of the time because of the dust pollution and her precious plants have been destroyed by the cement powder coming from the constant traffic of trucks and other vehicles carrying the product of the batching plant passing through her area. She claims damages amounting to more than P100,000.00. "A chemical engineer, Alexander Cruz, said that the effluence deposited on the properties of Ernesto LI. Rodriguez III and Zenaida Rodriguez has a very high PH, 11.8, and the soil is highly alkaline and cannot support plant life; that pollution coming from the batching plant can cause stomach disorder and skin problems; that the place of Ernesto Ll. Rodriguez III is bare of grass and the trees are dying, (Exhibits J, J-1 and J-2) and that there is also a high degree of calcium on the property in question. "Witness Guido L. Quiban, a civil engineer, testified that on the basis of his examination of the property of Rodriguez III affected by the pollution, it would cost at least P250,000.00 for the excavation filling, concreting of canal and rental of equipment to repair it or restore it to its status quo ante. "Lawyer Ernesto R. Rodriguez, Jr., the 70-year old father of both Ernesto III and Zenaida Z. Rodriguez, submitted a medical certificate that he had recently been taken ill with acute bronchial asthma, hypertension and atherosclerotic heart disease. (Exhibits L, L-1 to L-4). His physician, a specialist graduate from the University of London and connected with various hospitals in Manila, advised him against exposure to environmental allegens, specifically cement dust and pollution. He also submitted as exhibits various newspaper clippings (Exhibit M) and excerpts from a book (Exhibits N and N-1) showing that pollution can irritate the eye, sear lungs and destroy vegetation, raise blood pressure, increase cholesterol levels, interfere with sleep, cause ulcer, trigger heart attacks and the like; that it is the common denominator of respiratory diseases, especially asthma chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma and emphysema; and that polluted air can develop abnormalities in lung function. "Dr. Raul I. del Rosario, a neighboring physician, testified that he had treated several patients who traced their sickness to the pollution caused by defendant Daytona batching plant. He said that cement dust produces broncho-pulmonary obstructive diseases, broncho fibriotic lesions which may produce cardio pulmonary complications, and the people living in the neighborhood of the batching plant are the most susceptible to these diseases. He reported many cases of bronchial asthma in both children and adult who live in the vicinity of the cement batching plant and these cases have been intermittently admitted and discharged from the Quirino Labor Hospital where he presently works as a resident physician. He had intended to open a medical clinic at his residence but he could not do so because the washings from the cement mixers are dumped on the access road in front of his house and when these washings are dried up they pollute the neighborhood, rendering his intended medical clinic unfit and impractical for the treatment of patients, particularly those suffering from respiratory ailments. "Another lawyer, Eliseo Alampay, Jr., who likewise resides a few meters away from the site of the Daytona batching plant, testified that the said plant is certainly injurious to the health; that the cement dust are agents of lung ailments, impair the growth of plants and even kill the birds in their cages; that it is a demonstrable nuisance because its uncontrolled engine noise and nightlong pounding prevent the neighborhood from being able to sleep soundly and peacefully. He told the court that there was a time when he felt like organizing the whole neighborhood into a demolition team to forcibly dismantle the entire Daytona plant because 'the authorities concerned apparently have chosen to close their eyes and leave us to our miserable plight.' He said that the homes in the community all look dirty and dusty because of the pollution that the batching plant of the defendant causes." (Decision in Injunction Case, AC-G.R. No. 14602-SP, pp. 10-14) Anent the default order, the appellate court in the injunction case said: "From the foregoing, it appears that petitioner was recreant in failing to file an answer after respondent judge denied its motion to dismiss the complaint. The motion to dismiss was denied in the order of the lower court under date of April 3, 1981, a copy of which was received by petitioner on April 23, 1981. A motion for reconsideration of the order of denial filed by petitioner on May 7, 1981 was denied by said court on July 7, 1981. Instead of filing an answer promptly, petitioner filed with the Supreme Court a motion for extension of time to file a petition for review, but it never filed one, prompting the Supreme Court to issue a resolution dated October 5, 1981 informing the parties that no petition for review was filed within the period that expired on August 15, 1981. Inspite of the Supreme Court's resolution, petitioner still failed to file any answer or pleading to arrest the running of the prescriptive period. It was only on July 23, 1982, when petitioner filed its Petition for Relief which was nine (9) months after the Supreme Court's resolution was issued. Petitioner's assertion in its Petition for Relief that the failure to file the answer was caused by 'the unforseen sickness of its corporate secretary who has custody of the records necessary for the preparation of its defense' cannot be taken without much doubt and hesitation. Petitioner did not even point out who was the supposed corporate secretary or explain why the records were in the possession of the corporate secretary instead of the counsel handling the case." (Decision in Injunction case, p. 16; underscoring supplied) With reference to defendant's allegation that it thought that the period within which to answer (after its motion to dismiss had been denied) had been suspended by its having filed a petition for review before the Supreme Court, same is without merit. The circumstances of the case point to a deliberate desire to delay: the corporation, governed as it is by knowledgeable business executives, should have taken steps to prevent its being declared in default. The corporation waited six (6) months before verifying the status of the case: in the meantime it had been declared in default, a judgment by default had been rendered against it, execution was already pending before it woke up to file the case at hand. We agree with Justice Luis A. Javellana in his concurring opinion in the injunction case before the appellate court, thus: "Petitioner's conduct here appears to me to be tainted with fraud and intended simply to delay the disposition of the case. When its motion to dismiss the complaint was denied, and its motion for reconsideration of that denial was, likewise, denied, it manifested its intention to elevate these orders to the Supreme Court on a petition for review. Yet, it did nothing to this end. The purpose of the ploy is obvious. Once it had announced its intention to go to the Supreme Court, it effectively suspended the proceedings in the trial court, or, at least, that was the effect. This enabled it to continue with its operations and it would have done so indefinitely if it had not been declared in default and private respondents allowed to present their evidence. It is quite apparent that petitioner really had no intention of elevating the case to the Supreme Court, otherwise, it would not have allowed the extended period given to it by the Supreme Court to lapse without filing the petition. Or, if it was in good faith, then, it should have informed the trial court that it was no longer pursuing its remedy in the Supreme Court, after it had decided that it was no longer availing of such remedy. Instead, it concealed this fact from the trial court and the adverse party, and allowed matters to take their course. It was not until it received the adverse decision that it frantically sought to set things right. I do not think that petitioner deserves any consideration for trifling with the administration of justice." (pp. 3-4; underscoring supplied) WHEREFORE, the assailed decision and resolution are hereby SET ASIDE, and a new judgment is hereby rendered REINSTATING the decision of the trial court with the modification that all awards for nominal damages are hereby eliminated. Costs against private respondent. SO ORDERED. Pollution Adjudication Board v. CA On 22 September 1988, petitioner Board issued an ex parte Order directing Solar immediately to cease and desist from utilizing its wastewater pollution source installations which were discharging untreated wastewater directly into a canal leading to the adjacent Tullahan-Tinejeros River. The above Order was based on findings of several inspections of Solar's plant by the National Pollution Control Commission, the predecessor of petitioner and DENR; that Solar's wastewater treatment plant was non-operational and that its plant generated about 30 gallons per minute of wastewater, 80% of which was being directly discharged into a drainage canal leading to the Tullahan-Tinejeros River. The remaining 20% of the wastewater was being channeled through Solar's non-operational wastewater treatment plant. Chemical analysis of samples of Solar's effluents showed the presence of pollutants on a level in excess of what was permissible under P.D. No. 984 and its Implementing Regulations. Meantime, Solar filed a motion for reconsideration/appeal with prayer for stay of execution of the Order dated 22 September 1988. Acting on this motion, the Board issued an Order dated 24 April 1989 allowing Solar to operate temporarily, to enable the Board to conduct another inspection and evaluation of Solar's wastewater treatment facilities. In the same Order, the Board directed the Regional Executive Director of the DENR/NCR to conduct the inspection and evaluation within thirty (30) days. On 21 April 1989, however, Solar went to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 77, on petition for certiorari with preliminary injunction against the Board, the petition being docketed as Civil Case No. Q-89-2287. On 21 July 1989, the Regional Trial Court dismissed Solar's petition upon two (2) grounds, i.e., that appeal and not certiorari from the questioned Order of the Board as well as the Writ of Execution was the proper remedy, and that the Board's subsequent Order allowing Solar to operate temporarily had rendered Solar's petition moot and academic. Solar filed a motion for reconsideration with RTC, but the same was dismissed. Dissatisfied, Solar went on appeal to the Court of Appeals which in the Decision here assailed, reversed the Order of dismissal of the trial court and remanded the case to that court for further proceedings. In addition, the Court of Appeals declared the Writ of Execution null and void. At the same time, the Court of Appeals said in the dispositive portion of its Decision that: "x x x. Still and all, this decision is without prejudice to whatever action the appellee [Board] may take relative to the projected ‘inspection and evaluation’ of appellant's [Solar's] water treatment facilities." The Court of Appeals, in so ruling, held that certiorari was a proper remedy since the Orders of petitioner Board may result in great and irreparable injury to Solar; and that while the case might be moot and academic, "larger issues" demanded that the question of due process be settled. Petitioner Board moved for reconsideration without success. The Board is now before us on a Petition for Review basically arguing that: its ex parte Order dated 22 September 1988 and the Writ of Execution were issued in accordance with law and were not violative of the requirements of due process; and the ex parte Order and the Writ of Execution are not the proper subjects of a petition for certiorari. The only issue before us at this time is whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the trial court on the ground that Solar had been denied due process by the Board. Issue: Whether CA erred in its decision in reversing the order of the RTC on the ground that Solar had been denied of due process by the Board Petitioner Board claims that under P.D. No. 984, Section 7(a), it has legal authority to issue ex parte orders to suspend the operations of an establishment when there is prima facie evidence that such establishment is discharging effluents or wastewater, the pollution level of which exceeds the maximum permissible standards set by the NPCC (now, the Board). Petitioner Board contends that the reports before it concerning the effluent discharges of Solar into the TullahanTinejeros River provided prima facie evidence of violation by Solar of Section 5 of the 1982 Effluent Code. Solar, on the other hand, contends that under the Board's own rules and regulations, an ex parte order may issue only if the effluents discharged pose an “immediate threat to life, public health, safety or welfare, or to animal and plant life.” In the instant case, according to Solar, the inspection reports before the Board made no finding that Solar's wastewater discharged posed such a threat. Ruling: Yes Section 7(a) of P.D. No. 984 authorized petitioner Board to issue ex parte cease and desist orders under the following circumstances: "P.D. 984, Section 7, paragraph (a), provides: (a) Public Hearing. x x x Provided, That whenever the Commission finds prima facie evidence that the discharged sewage or wastes are of immediate threat to life, public health, safety or welfare, or to animal or plant life, or exceeds the allowable standards set by the Commission, the Commissioner may issue an ex-parte order directing the discontinuance of the same or the temporary suspension or cessation of operation of the establishment or person generating such sewage or wastes without the necessity of a prior public hearing. The said ex-parte order shall be immediately executory and shall remain in force until said establishment or person prevents or abates the said pollution within the allowable standards, or modified or nullified by a competent court." Under the above-quoted portion of Section 7(a) of P.D. No. 984, an ex parte cease and desist order may be issued by the Board (a) whenever the wastes discharged by an establishment pose an "immediate threat to life, public health, safety or welfare, or to animal or plant life," or (b) whenever such discharges or wastes exceed "the allowable standards set by the [NPCC]." On the one hand, it is not essential that the Board prove that an "immediate threat to life, public health, safety or welfare, or to animal or plant life" exists before an ex parte cease and desist order may be issued. It is enough if the Board finds that the waste discharged do exceed "the allowable standards set by the [NPCC]." In respect of discharges of wastes as to which allowable standards have been set by the Commission, the Board may issue an ex parte cease and desist order when there is prima facie evidence of an establishment exceeding such allowable standards. Where, however the effluents or discharges have not yet been the subject matter of allowable standards set by the Commission, then the Board may act on an ex parte basis when it finds at least prima facie proof that the wastewater or material involved presents an "immediate threat to life, public health, safety or welfare, or to animal or plant life." Since the applicable standards set by the Commission existing at any given time may well not cover every possible or imaginable kind of effluent or waste discharge, the general standard of an "immediate threat to life, public health, safety or welfare, or to animal and plant life" remains necessary. Upon the other hand, the Court must assume that the extant allowable standards have been set by the Commission or Board precisely in order to avoid or neutralize an "immediate threat to life, public health, safety or welfare, or to animal or plant life." Section 5 of the Effluent Regulations of 1982 sets out the maximum permissible levels of physical and chemical substances which “effluents from domestic wastewater treatment plants and industrial plants” must not exceed "when discharged into bodies of water classified as Class A, B, C, D, SB and SC in accordance with the 1978 NPCC Rules and Regulations." The waters of Tullahan-Tinejeros River are classified as inland waters Class D under Section 68 of the 1978 NPCC Rules and Regulations, which in part provides that: "Section 68. Water Usage and Classification. The quality of Philippine waters shall be maintained in a safe and satisfactory condition according to their best usages. For this purpose, all water shall be classified according to the following beneficial usages: (a) Fresh Surface Water Classification Best usage xxx xxx xxx Class D For agriculture, irrigation, livestock watering and industrial cooling and processing. The November 1986 inspections report concluded that: "Records of the Commission show that the plant under its previous owner, Fine Touch Finishing Corporation, was issued a Notice of Violation on 20 December 1985 directing same to cease and desist from conducting dyeing operation until such time the waste treatment plant is already completed and operational. The new owner Solar Textile Corporation informed the Commission of the plant acquisition thru its letter dated March 1986 (sic). The new owner was summoned to a hearing held on 13 October 1986 based on the adverse findings during the inspection/water sampling test conducted on 08 August 1986. As per instruction of the Legal Division a re-inspection/sampling text should be conducted first before an appropriate legal action is instituted; hence, this inspection. Based on the above findings, it is clear that the new owner continuously violates the directive of the Commission by undertaking dyeing operation without completing first and operating its existing WTP. The analysis of results on water samples taken showed that the untreated wastewater from the firm pollutes our water resources. In this connection, it is recommended that appropriate legal action be instituted immediately against the firm x x x." The September 1988 inspection report's conclusions were: "1. The plant was undertaking dyeing, bleaching and rinsing operations during the inspection. The combined wastewater generated from the said operations was estimated at about 30 gallons per minute. About 80% of the wastewater was traced directly discharged into a drainage canal leading to the Tullahan-Tinejeros river by means of a bypass. The remaining 20% was channeled into the plant's existing wastewater treatment plant (WTP). 2. The WTP was noted not yet fully operational - some accessories were not yet installed. Only the sump pit and the holding/collecting tank are functional but appeared seldom used. The wastewater mentioned channeled was noted held indefinitely into the collection tank for primary treatment. There was no effluent discharge [from such collection tank]. 3. A sample from the bypass wastewater was collected for laboratory analyses. Result of the analyses show that the bypass wastewater is polluted in terms of color units, BOD and suspended solids, among others. (Please see attached laboratory result).” From the foregoing reports, it is clear to this Court that there was at least prima facie evidence before the Board that the effluents emanating from Solar's plant exceeded the maximum allowable levels of physical and chemical substances set by the NPCC and that accordingly there was adequate basis supporting the ex parte cease and desist order issued by the Board. It is also well to note that the previous owner of the plant facility -- Fine Touch Finishing Corporation -had been issued a Notice of Violation on 20 December 1985 directing it to cease and refrain from carrying out dyeing operations until the water treatment plant was completed and operational. Solar, the new owner, informed the NPCC of the acquisition of the plant on March 1986. Solar was summoned by the NPCC to a hearing on 13 October 1986 based on the results of the sampling test conducted by the NPCC on 8 August 1986. Petitioner Board refrained from issuing an ex parte cease and desist order until after the November 1986 and September 1988 reinspections were conducted and the violation of applicable standards was confirmed. In other words, petitioner Board appears to have been remarkably forbearing in its efforts to enforce the applicable standards vis-a-vis Solar. Solar, on the other hand, seemed very casual about its continued discharge of untreated, pollutive effluents into the Tullahan-Tinejeros River, presumably loath to spend the money necessary to put its Wastewater Treatment Plant ("WTP") in an operating condition. In this connection, we note that in Technology Developers, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, et al., the Court very recently upheld the summary closure ordered by the Acting Mayor of Sta. Maria, Bulacan, of a pollution-causing establishment, after finding that the records showed that: "1. No mayor's permit had been secured. While it is true that the matter of determining whether there is a pollution of the environment that requires control if not prohibition of the operation of a business is essentially addressed to the then National Pollution Control Commission of the Ministry of Human Settlements, now the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, it must be recognized that the mayor of a town has as much responsibility to protect its inhabitants from pollution, and by virtue of his police power, he may deny the application for a permit to operate a business or otherwise close the same unless appropriate measures are taken to control and/or avoid injury to the health of the residents of the community from the emissions in the operation of the business. 2. The Acting Mayor, in a letter of February 16, 1989, called the attention of petitioner to the pollution emitted by the fumes of its plant whose offensive odor "not only pollute the air in the locality but also affect the health of the residents in the area," so that petitioner was ordered to stop its operation until further orders and it was required to bring the following: xxx xxx xxx (3) Region III-Department of Environment and Natural Resources Anti-Pollution permit. (Annex A-2, petition) 3. This action of the Acting Mayor was in response to the complaint of the residents of Barangay Guyong, Sta. Maria, Bulacan, directed to the Provincial Governor through channels (Annex A-B, petition). x x x. 4. The closure order of the Acting Mayor was issued only after an investigation was made by Marivic Guina who in her report of December 8, 1988 observed that, the fumes emitted by the plant of petitioner goes directly to the surrounding houses and that no proper air pollution device has been installed. (Annex A-9, petition) xxx xxx xxx 6. While petitioner was able to present a temporary permit to operate by the then National Pollution Control Commission on December 15, 1987, the permit was good only up to May 25, 1988 (Annex A-12, petition). Petitioner had not exerted any effort to extend or validate its permit much less to install any device to control the pollution and prevent any hazard to the health of the residents of the community." In the instant case, the ex parte cease and desist Order was issued not by a local government official but by the Pollution Adjudication Board, the very agency of the Government charged with the task of determining whether the effluents of a particular industrial establishment comply with or violate applicable anti-pollution statutory and regulatory provisions. Ex parte cease and desist orders are permitted by law and regulations in situations like that here presented precisely because stopping the continuous discharge of pollutive and untreated effluents into the rivers and other inland waters of the Philippines cannot be made to wait until protracted litigation over the ultimate correctness or propriety of such orders has run its full course, including multiple and sequential appeals such as those which Solar has taken, which of course may take several years. The relevant pollution control statute and implementing regulations were enacted and promulgated in the exercise of that pervasive, sovereign power to protect the safety, health, and general welfare and comfort of the public, as well as the protection of plant and animal life, commonly designated as the police power. It is a constitutional commonplace that the ordinary requirements of procedural due process yield to the necessities of protecting vital public interests like those here involved, through the exercise of police power. The Board's ex parte Order and Writ of Execution would, of course, have compelled Solar temporarily to stop its plant operations, a state of affairs Solar could in any case have avoided by simply absorbing the bother and burden of putting its WTP on an operational basis. Industrial establishments are not constitutionally entitled to reduce their capital costs and operating expenses and to increase their profits by imposing upon the public threats and risks to its safety, health, general welfare and comfort, by disregarding the requirements of anti-pollution statutes and their implementing regulations. It should perhaps be made clear the Court is not here saying that the correctness of the ex parte Order and Writ of Execution may not be contested by Solar in a hearing before the Board itself. Where the establishment affected by an ex parte cease and desist order contests the correctness of the prima facie findings of the Board, the Board must hold a public hearing where such establishment would have an opportunity to controvert the basis of such ex parte order. That such an opportunity is subsequently available is really all that is required by the due process clause of the Constitution in situations like that we have here. The Board's decision rendered after the public hearing may then be tested judicially by an appeal to the Court of Appeals in accordance with Section 7(c) of P.D. No. 984 and Section 42 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations. A subsequent public hearing is precisely what Solar should have sought instead of going to court to seek nullification of the Board's Order and Writ of Execution, and instead of appealing to the Court of Appeals. It will be recalled that the Board in fact gave Solar authority temporarily to continue operations until still another inspection of its wastewater treatment facilities and then another analysis of effluent samples could be taken and evaluated. Solar claims finally that the petition for certiorari was the proper remedy as the questioned Order and Writ of Execution issued by the Board were patent nullities. Since we have concluded that that Order and Writ of Execution were entirely within the lawful authority of petitioner Board, the trial court did not err when it dismissed Solar's petition for certiorari. It follows that the proper remedy was an appeal from the trial court to the Court of Appeals, as Solar did in fact appeal. ACCORDINGLY, the Petition for Review is given DUE COURSE and the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 7 February 1990 and its Resolution dated 10 May 1990 in A.C.-G.R. No. SP 18821 are hereby SET ASIDE. The Order of petitioner Board dated 22 September 1988 and the Writ of Execution, as well as the decision of the trial court dated 21 July 1989, are hereby REINSTATED, without prejudice to the right of Solar to contest the correctness of the basis of the Board's Order and Writ of Execution at a public hearing before the Board. R & B SURETY & INSURANCE CO., INC. vs. THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and ANGELINA USON, respondents. Facts: On January 3, 1969, defendant Maria Isabel Diaz was granted a loan of P20,000.00 by PNB. To secure the repayment of the loan, Maria Isabel Diaz submitted a surety bond of plaintiff R & B Surety & Insurance Co., Inc. for the sum of P20,000.00 in favor of PNB. In turn, defendants executed an indemnity agreement with the chattel mortgage to indemnify the plaintiff surety. However, it appears that the signature of respondent herein, Angelina Uson, was forged in the said indemnity agreement. Uson filed a complaint or the crossclaim against Diaz and one Eliseo Santos. Diaz defaulted; Santos admitted signing the said agreement and thought he was actually intended to be a witness character only. In his counterclaim, he asks for attorney's fees, expenses of litigation and other damages in unspecified amounts against the plaintiff. Defendant Angelina Uson filed a separate answer, stating her signatures appearing on the indemnity agreement are all forgeries. By way of counterclaim against the plaintiff, she asks for P100,000.00 as moral damages and a sum equivalent to 25% of the amount of damages she may recover as and for counsel fees. By way of crossclaim against defendant Maria Isabel Diaz, she asks for the payment of moral damages and attorney's fees in like amounts for forging or causing to be forged her signature in the indemnity agreement. CFI Decision CFI rendered a decision in favor of Uson and against Diaz and Santos, ordering them, jointly and severally, to pay the former the sum of P20,000.00, with interest thereon at the rate of 13-l/2% from January 16, 1974, the date when plaintiff paid the Philippine National Bank; a sum equal to 20% thereof as and for attorney's fees; and the costs of suit. IAC Decision On April 29, 1982, the Intermediate Appellate Court modified the decision of the lower court and ordered R & B Surety to pay "the sum of P100,000.00 as moral damages, twenty five (25%) per cent of said amount as attorney's fees and P10,000.00 as exemplary damages ..." on a finding that R & B acted in bad faith when it filed the action against Uson. From the decision of IAC, petitioner R & B argued that it should not be held guilty of bad faith and negligence, and, therefore liable to private respondent for moral and exemplary damages. It also contended that IAC has awarded a kind of damage (exemplary damage) which is not within the contemplation of the pleadings and which, even the private respondent had not conceived and asked for. Issue: Whether or not IAC erred in its ruling of awarding moral damages to Uson Ruling: Yes. While petitioner might have been negligent in not verifying the authenticity of the signatures in the indemnity agreement, still the same does not amount to bad faith as to justify the award of damages and the conclusion that the act of filing the complaint against respondent Uson amounts to malicious prosecution. In filing the action, the petitioner was only protecting its business interests by trying to recover the amount it had already paid to the Philippine National Bank. In a long line of cases, we have consistently ruled that in the absence of a wrongful act or omission or of fraud or bad faith, moral damages cannot be awarded and that the adverse result of an action does not per se make the action wrongful and subject the actor to the payment of damages, for the law could not have meant to impose a penalty on the right to litigate. In the case at bar, the act of filing the complaint against respondent Uson was not at all motivated by ill will or by any desire to vex and humiliate the respondent. This can be gleaned from the fact that after the termination of the case before the trial court, the petitioner did not appeal the dismissal of the case against the respondent even though it knew that it would have a greater chance of collecting what it paid for if all the defendants were adjudged to pay the amount in the indemnity agreement especially since the main signatory to the agreement had already been declared in default and was nowhere to be found. And as stated earlier, the mere fact that an action is later found to be based on an erroneous ground does not per se make its initiator guilty of bad faith and liable for damages, much less in the amount of P110,000.00. In the case at bar, even if the respondent were entitled to damages, the award of a total amount of P135,000.00 as damages and attorney's fees was entirely way out of proportion. Moral damages are emphatically not intended to enrich a complainant at the expense of a defendant; they are awarded only to enable the injured party to obtain means, diversion or amusements that will serve to alleviate the moral suffering he has undergone, by reason of the defendants culpable action. In other words, the award of moral damages is aimed at a restoration, within the limits of the possible of the spiritual status quo ante, and it must be proportionate to the suffering inflicted. The records are bereft of proof to support any finding of bad faith on the part of the petitioner. Petition is GRANTED. The decision of IAC is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the decision of the CFI Manila is REINSTATED and AFFIRMED in toto.