Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday thanks Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Antonio Carpio for inhibiting from participating in the decision making whether to grant the petition seeking the issuance of a Writ of Kalikasan to protect from environmental degradation areas in the West Philippine Sea.
“It’s just right he’s inhibiting,” Calida said yesterday.
A petition has been filed before the SC which sought a Writ of Kalikasan be applied over the Scarborough Shoal or Panatag Shoal, Ayungin Shoal, and Mischief or Panganiban Reef due environmental degradation caused by Chinese incursions.
Represented by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), the petitioners are members of the Kalayaan Palawan Farmers and Fisherfolk Association who are members of the fisherfolk community in the Municipality of Kalayaan, Province of Palawan, while the others are residents of Sitio Kinabukasa, Cawag, Zambales.
The petitioners named as respondents the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Roy A. Cimatu; Department of Agriculture (DA) Sec. Emmanuel Piñol; Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources National Director Eduardo B. Gongona; Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command VAdm Robert Empedrad; Philippine Coast Guard, Commandant Admiral Elson E. Hermogino; Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief PDG Oscar Albayalde; PNP Maritime Group’s PCSupt. Rodelio B. Jocson; and Department of Justice Sec. Menardo I. Guevarra.
The SC has already begun conducting oral arguments over the petition yesterday which Carpio will not be participating to because of his inhibition.
Prior this, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) had filed before the SC last June 27 a motion asking Carpio to inhibit himself from participating in the proceedings concerning the petition.
“We thank him for inhibiting for reasons that he knows already all the facts of the case because of the West Philippine Sea Arbitration as part of the legal team,” Calida noted.
Carpio was part of the legal team which filed a case against China before the Permanent Arbitration Court at The Hague concerning the Philippines claim over the West Philippine Sea.
In 2016, the international court ruled in favor of the Philippines.
Apart from this, the OSG has expressed concerns about Carpio’s “continuing public pronouncements against the actions taken by the government in relation to the SCS (South China Sea) Arbitral Award.”
Carpio has been vocally critical about the current administration’s failure to protect the country’s territorial waters against China.
Though SC Justice Francis Jardeleza was also part of that legal team with Carpio, Calida assured there was no need to seek Jardeleza’s inhibition.
“But he never said anything in public,” Calida explained.
“Unlike Justice Carpio who is very active,” the Solicitor General pointed out.