Calida: Parties agree to junk writ of kalikasan petition | Malaya Business Insight

Reference:
Hachero, A. (2019, July 10). Calida: Parties agree to junk writ of kalikasan petition. Malaya Business Insight. Retrieved July 10, 2019 from https://www.malaya.com.ph/business-news/news/calida-parties-agree-junk-writ-kalikasan-petition

Calida: Parties agree to junk writ of kalikasan petition
By ASHZEL HACHERO – July 10, 2019

SOLICITOR General Jose Calida yesterday said parties in a petition seeking a writ of kalikasan “agreed that the petition be dismissed by the Supreme Court.”

The writ of kalikasan petition seeks to compel government to save and protect the environment in the West Philippine Sea. The petitioners said Chinese fishermen have been harvesting and endangering marine resources in the WPS and government has not stopped the activities.

The SC said it cannot confirm what was agreed on by the parties in the case. The court decided to suspend the oral arguments “in view of the submissions of the Solicitor General and the manifestations of counsels during the oral arguments,” said SC spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka.

Calida, at the resumption of oral arguments on the petition, told the High Court that 19 fishermen from Palawan and Zambales who were among the petitioners have withdrawn their signatures on the plea.

“Anyway, that (withdrawal of signatures) is moot and academic now because both parties agreed to dismiss the case,” Calida told reporters in an ambush interview after the oral arguments adjourned early.

“The parties, petitioners and respondents, agreed that the case be dismissed by the Supreme Court. To us, that’s a win because we are the respondents,” he added.

Calida told the SC, quoting from the fishermen’s affidavits, they were withdrawing their signatures because they did not know or did not support the cause behind the plea that accused the Duterte administration of neglect the WPS.

The petition was filed by the Kalayaan Palawan farmers and Fisherfolk Association and Zambales Fisherfolk with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and human rights lawyer Jose “Chel” Diokno helping prepare the plea.

Diokno said he spoke to three fishermen from Zambales who he said seemed “very aware and very willing” to sign the petition which said government did not act to stop to environmental damage at the Panatag and Ayungin Shoals and Panganiban Reefs.

Calida slammed the IBP, saying it has deceived the fishermen, the public and the SC.

“The IBP lawyers involved in this case foisted egregious deceit not only on the fisherfolk petitioners but also on this Honorable Court. They bastardized the lofty ideals of the IBP when they used it as a battering ram to take down the Duterte administration,” he said in his opening statement to the Court.

Calida then moved to submit the fishermen’s affidavit, prompting Diokno to object, saying he has not read the documents and that arguments not raised in the return of the writ are deemed waived, meaning the Calida’s office has lost the chance to raise the issue.

In an official statement sent to reporters, Diokno and IBP lead counsel Andre Palacios did not discuss Calida’s claim about the dismissal of the petition, saying only that a joint motion will be filed.

“After being called to chambers, both parties agreed to explore the filing of a joint motion in the premises and were given until Friday to do so,” the statement said.

Category: National | Malaya Business Insight

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