Petitioners in West PHL Sea protection case before SC agree to drop case

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Solicitor-General Jose Calida

SOLICITOR-GENERAL Jose C. Calida said both parties in the petition for Writ of Kalikasan seeking the enforcement of environmental laws and protection of territories in the West Philippine Sea have agreed to dismiss the case. Mr. Calida said the petitioners, composed of a group of fisherfolk and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), agreed to drop the case by Friday. “The parties, petitioners and respondents, agreed that case be dismissed… To us that’s a win because we are the respondents, I’m the lawyer of the respondents,” Mr. Calida told reporters after the oral arguments for the petition. On the other hand, Supreme Court (SC) Public Information Chief Brian Keith F. Hosaka said the court cannot confirm what was agreed upon by the parties of the case. “The Supreme Court decided to suspend the oral arguments in view of the submissions of the Solicitor General and the manifestations of counsels during today’s oral arguments,” he said in a text message. Before he delivered his opening statement in the oral arguments, Mr. Calida moved to submit 19 affidavits from petitioners who withdrew their petition. He also noted that the IBP did not include in what capacity they are suing and what injury they have sustained. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas