The Supreme Court (SC) has denied the plea of the Akbayan Citizen’s Action Party (Akbayan) to cite the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in contempt for dumping dolomite sand on portions of Manila Bay.

SUPREME COURT - SC junks Akbayan’s plea to cite DENR in contempt for dolomite project
(MANILA BULLETIN)

Also denied by the SC in its November 17 resolution was Akbayan’s plea to intervene in the 2008 Manila Bay environmental protection case that had long become final and executory.

In a resolution, the SC said what it has been monitoring is the full implementation of its 2008 decision that directed practically all government agencies, including those in law enforcement, to speed up the cleanup, restoration, and preservation of Manila Bay.      

The SC even formed the Manila Bay Advisory Committee (MBAC) to monitor and evaluate the reports submitted by the agencies tasked to implement its decision.

The committee is now headed by Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta with Associate Justice Rodil V. Zalameda as vice chairperson and Associate Justice Edgardo Delos Santos and Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez as members.

A copy of the SC’s resolution denying Akbayan’s motion to intervene and to cite the DENR in contempt was not immediately available.  The SC’s public information office (PIO) said it would be uploaded in its website, sc.judiciary.gov.ph, once available.      

The PIO’s statement:       

“The Supreme Court on Tuesday, November 17, denied the motion to intervene filed by Akbayan Citizen’s Action Party in the Manila Bay case.

“The said case which is already final and executory involves a continuing mandamus order directing concerned government agencies to ensure the clean-up, rehabilitation and preservation of the Manila Bay.     

“… the Court held that the case has been rendered final and executory and that its jurisdiction is limited only to the full implementation of the mandated reliefs.
         

“The Court held that intervention is not viable where the case has long been concluded with finality and is now on execution albeit still under judicial supervision as a necessary consequence of the standing mandamus for the constant clean-up and maintenance of the bay and its waters.        

“The Court held that it has not yet found any violation of the continuing mandamus amidst the quarterly reports submitted by the concerned agencies and the on-site ocular inspection conducted by the Manila Bay Advisory Committee (MBAC).     

“The Court took judicial notice that the DENR has not been remiss in its reportorial duty to the MBAC respecting the works actually performed by the concerned agencies and departments according to the writ’s directions.”       

In its 2008 decision written by retired Associate Justice Presbitero J. Velasco Jr., now Marinduque governor, the SC said: “In the light of the ongoing environmental degradation, the court wishes to emphasize the extreme necessity for all concerned executive departments and agencies to immediately act and discharge their respective official duties and obligations.”         

It pointed out that “time is of the essence…, and hence, there is a need to set timetables for the performance and completion of the tasks, some of them as defined for them by law and the nature of their respective offices and mandates,” it stressed.        

Directed to undertake immediate action on the Manila Bay problem are the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), DENR, Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Health (DoH), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Budget and Management ((DBM), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Philippine National Police Maritime Group, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).      

Thereafter, the SC issued a continuing mandamus to compel the government agencies to perform their tasks.

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