IBP dropping petition for West Philippine Sea Writ of Kalikasan

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THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday announced that it is withdrawing its petition made on behalf of Palawan-based fisherfolk which asked the Supreme Court (SC) to issue a Writ of Kalikasan to protect the country’s shoals in the West Philippine Sea.

On Friday, IBP National President Domingo Egon Q. Cayosa said that the motion was set to withdraw the petition. “With due regard to the plight and position of the fishermen petitioners, the views and recommendations of the handling lawyers and the IBP Chapters involved, and the matters raised and guidance by the Honorable Supreme Court, a motion has been filed for the withdrawal or discharge of the counsels for the fishermen and for the withdrawal of the petition,” said Mr. Cayosa in an IBP update regarding the petition.

The petitioners are members of the Kalayaan Palawan Farmers and Fisherfolk Association who said that the respondents, including Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, and Philippine Coast Guard Admiral Elson E. Hermogino, refused to take legal action against violators of environmental laws and thus they sought the Court to compel the government to protect Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal), Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) and Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef).

Representing the IBP are lawyers Andre C. Palacios and Jose Manuel “Chel” I. Diokno.

Last week, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo claimed in a Palace briefing that the IBP Lawyers representing the case “manipulated” the fishermen into filing the petition. Around the same time, Solicitor General Jose C. Calida said that some of the fishermen has backed out of the petition. — Gillian M. Cortez