Davide’s father questions Garcia’s ‘green’ record-A A +A
Sunday, February 10, 2013
RETIRED Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. yesterday criticized suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia for “not giving serious attention” to the protection of the environment.
In a forum organized by law students from the University of Cebu, Davide said that Garcia spent over P141 million last year for “socio-cultural activities,” but not a single centavo for the protection of environment, or measures to mitigate the effects of climate change.
“It is sad to note that in Cebu, the Provincial Government and some local governments are not giving serious attention to the environment, or to the problem of climate change,” Davide said in his speech.
The former chief justice was a guest speaker of the forum “Revisiting the Trust Doctrine of Intergenerational Responsibility: Impacts of the Trail-blazing Oposa Ruling.”
Davide’s son and namesake is Liberal Party’s gubernatorial candidate in the May 2012 midterm elections. He will face the governor’s brother, Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu Province, third district).
Asked to comment on the retired chief justice’s observations, Governor Garcia said she paid more attention to climate change than to Davide.
She also named some Liberal Party (LP) legislators who contributed to the socio-cultural activities that Davide tagged as “indecent and early campaigning”.
“I have insured farmers, fisherfolks, crops and equipment against the ill effects of climate change. I have encouraged the establishment of MRFs (materials recovery facilities) in the towns and barangays, and implemented the ‘go organic’ program throughout the province,” Garcia said.
She added that the socio-cultural assistance to LGUs included also the assistance from Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale, and Provincial Board Members Peter Calderon, Willy Caminero, Jude Sybico, Miguel Magpale, Arleigh Sitoy and Teddy Ouano, who are all LP members.
“Are they also guilty of early campaigning?” Garcia asked.
What, she added, has Davide done aside from giving speeches?
The forum yesterday was meant to reexamine the 1993 landmark ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) in the case of Oposa vs Factoran.
Aided by environmentalist-lawyer Antonio Oposa, 44 children and their parents filed a taxpayers’ class suit against then Environment Secretary Fulgencio Factoran, Jr. before the Regional Trial Court in Makati City.
The civil action sought the cancellation and non-issuance of timber license agreements, which allegedly infringed on the constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology.
But the Makati City court dismissed the suit because the petitioners lacked a cause of action, which prompted lawyer Oposa to elevate the case before the SC.
In the ruling, the SC granted the petition and ruled that the children had the legal standing to file the case based on the concept of “intergenerational responsibility.”
Their right to a healthy environment carried with it an obligation to preserve that environment for the succeeding generations, the SC pointed out.
Likewise, the High Court acknowledged the legal standing to sue on behalf of future generations as “the minors’ assertion of their right to a sound environment constitutes, at the same time, the performance of their obligation to ensure the protection of that right for the generations to come.”
In his speech, Davide Jr. said he learned from the Provincial Treasurer’s Office that Garcia released more than P141 million in public funds to various towns and barangays from July to December, 2012.
The bulk of the amount was allocated for the Pasigarbo sa Sugbo last year. Each municipality was given at least P300 000 and another P30,000 for food stubs.
Capitol also released millions of pesos for the construction of hundreds of day care and health centers in the Province, he said.
“I never expected that hundreds of our barangays continued to have no day care nor health center and I don’t think I believe in that,” Davide said.
He said that the distribution of checks to various towns and villages was “really for political purposes.”
The acts, he said, constituted “an indecent and immoral early campaigning designed to deceive the people into believing that without the governor, and her brother, their municipalities or barangays would receive nothing.”
Apparently referring to Garcia’s brother Pablo John, Davide said the lawmaker has “absolutely no personality to make any representation whatsoever in regard to the provincial government’s money” since he is not an official of the Capitol.
“What he (Pablo John) should had distributed was part of the pork barrel,” he said.
Davide said Filipinos should be proud and honored that the Philippine Supreme Court is the first High Court in the world to have the concept of the intergenerational responsibility.
He appealed to the participants of the forum to become “fearless advocates inter intergenerational responsibility and intergenerational justice,” which he said sometimes known as “environmental justice.”
The SC ruling immediately reached the Harvard University in the United States and “it adorns its law library.”
The landmark ruling was also seen printed in different newspapers worldwide, and books on environmental laws, he said.
Because of the Oposa Doctrine, new laws were promulgated for the protection of the environment and of Mother Earth. More cases have been filed in court to assert the right to a balanced and healthful ecology.
Even in the United States, he said the Oposa Doctrine sparked the filing of a complaint by a group of teenagers from California against the federal government, for its failure to address the risk facing the young generation after climate change.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 10, 2013.