General & Misc

SolGen asks SC to dismiss Writ of Kalikasan Suit on WPS

Date: 09 July 2019; Type: Industry Updates; Source: Philippines News Agency

MANILA, Jul 9 (PNA) - Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to dismiss the petition filed against government agencies, which seeks unspecified action on the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea.

"The petition demonstrates a grave abuse of process, which merits dismissal, if not sanction from the Court," Calida said in his opening statement at the oral argument on the matter, citing that at least three of the supposed fisherfolk-petitioners in the case have executed sworn statements denying that they authorized the filing of the suits against the government in their behalf.

The three, whom Calida identified by their last names as Abogado, Asiado, and Labandelo, confirmed that they do not know of the filing of the suits in their behalf, which had been supported by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).

"These statements show deception," Calida said.

"As for petitioner IBP, it did not even allege what capacity it is suing or what injury it sustained. Definitely, it’s not to safeguard the administration of justice or to advocate for the rule of law because the IBP lawyers involved in this case foisted egregious deceit not only on the fisherfolk petitioners but also on this Honorable court," Calida said.

In any case, the top government counsel, citing legal precedents, said since petitioners claim it was China that is causing environmental degradation, it now becomes a matter of foreign relations, which places it under the jurisdiction of the executive department.

Calida stressed that the Court cannot interfere with or question the wisdom of the conduct of foreign relations by the executive department and explained that "any determination of policy or course of action in the implementation of foreign policy and relations fall within the realm of the executive branch and not with the courts".

In a message to reporters, SC spokesperson Brian Hosaka confirmed that "the Supreme Court decided to suspend the oral arguments in view of the submissions of the Solicitor General and the manifestations of counsels during today's oral arguments".

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