Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dolphins' lawsuit vs. state agencies moves on

Saturday, November 01, 2008
Dolphins' lawsuit vs. state agencies moves on

DOLPHINS and other mammals who oppose attempts to drill for oil in the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape need to spell out their arguments in a formal memo, the Supreme Court (SC) ordered.

In a Sept. 23 letter to all the parties, the SC resolved to give due course to two petitions filed against government agencies and officials, as well as a Japanese company.

Both petitions concerned the exploratory drilling for oil in Tañon Strait, off the coasts of Pinamungajan and Aloguinsan towns.

Dolphins, toothed whales, porpoises and other cetacean species are represented in the suit by lawyers Gloria Estenzo-Ramos and Liza Osorio. The Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center (Fidec) is the petitioner in the other case.

Named respondents were Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Angelo Reyes, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Department of Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap, DENR 7 Director Leonardo R. Sibbaluca, and the Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. Ltd. (Japex), represented by its Philippine agent, Supply Oilfield Services.

Japex conducted the exploratory drilling from late last year until early this year.

In an earlier interview, Atty. Ramos explained that giving due course to the petition of the mammals meant that they were treated like normal, human petitioners.

The parties are given 30 days from receipt of the resolution to file their memoranda.

Each memorandum, according to the resolution, will contain a “statement of the case;” a summary of the proceedings; the challenged decision, resolution or order of the court; the nature of the judgment and other matters necessary to an understanding of the nature of the controversy.

“No new issues may be raised by a party in (the) memorandum, and the issues raised in pleadings but not included in the memorandum shall be deemed waived or abandoned. Being a summation of the parties’ previous pleadings, the court may consider the memorandum alone in deciding or resolving these petitions,” the resolution also read.


The mammals’ lawyers have said their habitat was destroyed by the oil exploration, while the fishermen said they lost their livelihood.

Lawyer Dante Ramos is representing Fidec, while Benjamin Cabrido represents the mammals.

They are the same lawyers who represent the Bantayan Group of Islands in a suit against DENR, over the allegedly indiscriminate issuance of environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) in the island. They argued that some businesses covered by ECCs may be detrimental to the environment of Bantayan, a protected area as declared by a presidential proclamation. (JGA)


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