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Writ of Kalikasan and the Writ of Sovereignty – Our Sacred Ballot

"Truth is stranger than fiction," the saying goes. And it's certainly not mere coincidence that our outgoing Supreme Court Chief Justice Puno, as in "tree" or maybe "full," is crowning the apex of his most distinguished career on the bench with the Writ of Kalikasan (nature).

On April 13, 2010, the Supreme Court finally approved CJ Puno's "baby," the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases at the heart of which is the revolutionary legal remedy called the Writ of Kalikasan. Rule 7 sec. 1 of these rules defines it, thus: "The writ is a remedy available to a natural or juridical person, entity authorized by law, people's organization, non-governmental organization, or any public interest group accredited by or registered with any government agency, on behalf of persons whose constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated, or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or private individual or entity, involving environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces."

But even as we continue our work for nature as mandated in our Constitution, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the more urgent need now is to free ourselves and future generations from the very evil of trapo politics or patronage politics. For that matter, this pervading menace is actually the root cause of environmental degradation, massive grinding poverty, corruption, Hello Garci, and all the other ills of governance choking our country.

And for this end, we don't really need Puno or the Supreme Court inventing a new writ. The most basic and fundamental writ is well in our hands, that is, the ballot each one of us will fill out this coming May 10 elections. I call it the Writ of Sovereignty, the most powerful of all writs for there is no government without it, and if wielded freely in an informed and responsible manner would resultantly make recourse to all other writs unnecessary.

For example, if by our ballot we only elect leaders who honor and respect individual liberties, then we would not need to go to our courts to ask for a Writ of Habeas Corpus or Certiorari against oppression and abuse of power. If by our ballot we elect leaders who are protectors of human rights, then there would be no need for a Writ of Amparo. And if by our ballot we elect only those who will and can enforce our environmental laws and safeguard Mother Earth, then again there would be no need for the Writ of Kalikasan.