SC sets ground rules for oral arguments on writ of kalikasan

MANILA The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday issued guidelines for the July 2 oral arguments on the writ of kalikasan suit filed by petitioners seeking assertive government action on the disputed Ayungin Shoal, Panganiban Reef, and Panatag Shoal.

In an advisory, SC Clerk of Court Edgar O. Aricheta said parties shall limit their presentation for oral arguments on specific procedural and substantive issues identified by the court.

First among the substantive issues ordered by the court to be taken up by the parties is whether the issuance of a writ of kalikasan is the proper remedy for the enforcement of Philippine environmental laws against foreign nationals in the shoals and reefs or is the remedy political or diplomatic in nature.

Among the procedural issues the parties have been asked to take up also include questions of whether the petitioners violated the doctrine of the hierarchy of courts when they filed the petition directly with the SC instead of the Court of Appeals, which has concurrent jurisdiction over writs of kalikasan.

The parties will also discuss whether the petitioners failed to exhaust administrative remedies when they failed to give notice to respondents as required by Sec. 138 of the Philippine Fisheries Code before the filing of the petition and whether petitioners failed to comply with the rules of procedure for environmental cases considering that several petitioners failed to sign the verification which forms part of the suit.

Ultimately, the parties will argue before the court over whether the petitioners sufficiently discharged their burden of proof and evidence to support the grounds for their plea of a writ.

Aside from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the other petitioners in the case are individual members of the Kalayaan Palawan Farmers and Fisherfolk Association. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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