In addition to the establishment of the green courts all over the country, the promulgation of liberalized court procedures for environmental cases, which, among others, introduced potent tools for environmental defense such as the temporary environmental protection order, citizen suits, precautionary principle and the Writ of Kalikasan, are his life- impacting legacies that we are particularly grateful for.
Aside from asserting the independence of the judiciary, private citizen Puno will be remembered for his effort to make real the “Johannesburg Principles on the Role of Law and Sustainable Development,” which recommended improved people’s participation in environmental decision-making and enhanced public right to information and access to justice for the resolution of environmental disputes and the protection and enforcement of environmental rights.
Now that he has stepped down, we expect the judiciary to continue to faithfully implement the “Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases” in keeping with its role as guardian of our constitutional rights to life, health and to a balanced and healthful ecology.
We trust the courts to actively discharge their indispensable role in the movement for environmental justice, which “seeks fairness to the poor and the powerless in allocating the burdens of pollution, noxious development and resource depletion.”
Thank you, Chief Justice Puno, for the work that you have done to uphold environmental health and justice and for constantly reminding us, in your own words, “that we breathe the same air below one Heaven, above one earth, and under one environment.”
President, EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 329, Eagle Court Condominium
Matalino St., Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 441-1846