SC junks writ of kalikasan suit on West Philippine Sea

MANILA The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday dismissed the writ of kalikasan suit filed by lawyers representing fisherfolk from Palawan and Zambales seeking government action on the disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea, and warned the petitioners to comply with the procedures in filing a suit.

"In its resolution, the Supreme Court reminded the parties of the procedural and substantive requirements in petitions for the issuance of a writ of kalikasan and writ of continuing mandamus that must be complied with upon their filing. The counsels were cautioned that they would be ready with the necessary evidence before they seek the issuance of extraordinary writs," SC spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka told newsmen at the end of its banc session.

In the unanimous ruling, Hosaka said the court reminded that "counsels should establish and maintain a form of communication with their clients at all times. Mere difficulty in contacting clients should not be used by counsels as an excuse to renege on their duties and to disengage from their commitments,"

"Counsels for petitioners were sternly warned that the commission of the same or similar infractions in the future would be dealt with severely," Hosaka added.

In July, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) formally withdrew the petition filed before the High Court which sought unspecified government action on the WPS after the Office of the Solicitor General said the petition should be dismissed as the fishermen had already disavowed that they approved the filing in their name.

Out of 37 fisherfolk-petitioners from Palawan, only 24 signed the verification and certification of non-forum shopping and 13 did not. Meanwhile, of the 24, there were four who executed handwritten statements while 14 executed affidavits.

As for three fisherfolk petitioners from Zambales, two executed affidavits attesting that they were only made to affix the signatures on a document that contained only their names. One of the petitioners' counsel in open court admitted that he himself did not confer with the fisherfolk-petitioners and merely relied on the IBP local chapter lawyers, who allegedly talked to the fisherfolk-petitioners. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency