By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
SORSOGON CITY (BicolToday.com/23 Jan. 2012) – After the setbacks from Regional Trial Court Branch 53 of Sorsogon, the Alyansa Laban sa Mina sa Matnog(ALMMA) scored even when the Supreme Court on its notice of December 6 of last year requiring DENR Secretary Ramon Paje together with Sorsogon Governor Raul Lee and the operators of the iron ore mines in Barangay Bolacawe, Sitio Bonot Daco in Matnog town to comment on the petition for certiorari filed with the high tribunal by the National Union of People’s Lawyer.
The issues raised by the petitioner was premise that the Regional Trial Court committed reversible error in interpreting the provisions of Section 3 and 6 and Rule 2, of the rules and procedure for environmental cases; that the Regional Trial Court committed reversible error when it interpreted the provisions of Section 2, Rule 8 of the Rules of Procedures for environmental cases as applicable in the complaint in civil case no. 2011-8338 for purpose of determining jurisdiction, and that the Regional Trial Court committed reversible error when it interpreted the law on exhaustion of administrative remedy/doctrine of primary jurisdiction to be applicable in the complaint.
The respondents public officials, individuals and entities were given ten days upon notice to file their comment, but the matter of the refund of the docket fee of one thousand pesos was deferred until the filing of the comments. Legal practitioners here emphasized that there was a merit in the appeal of the anti-mining group but stated that the ruling junking the petition of the group by RTC Branch 53 remained, until such time that the Supreme Court reverses it. The appeal was an exhaustion of legal remedies after the motion for reconsideration was filed by ALMMA through counsel Joven Laura with RTC 53. The lower court found that the petition was not compliant with procedures thus junking the civil case.
It will be recalled that initially the case was handled by RTC Branch 53 covering damages, attorneys fees with prayer for the issuance of Temporary Environment Protection Order (TEPO) by Marciris Dolot, Chairman of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan of Sorsogon and several private individuals against the operation of the iron ore mine, but was dismissed by the said court for lack of jurisdiction. An urgent motion for reconsideration with prayer of recussion was manifested to the court by the anti-mining group arguing the impartiality of the presiding judge of Branch 53, thus it was handled by pairing judge Victor Gella of Branch 52.
The other parties required to comment were Regional Environment Director Reynulfo Juan of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Antones Enterprises, Antonio Ocampo. Global Summit Mines Development Corporation, Victoria Ajero, Alfredo Aguilar and Juan Aguilar. BicolToday.com
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