MANILA, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday, July 19, withdrew a fishermen’s petition before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking protection of the West Philippine Sea.
“A motion has been filed for the withdrawal or discharge of the counsels for the fishermen and for the withdrawal of the petition,” IBP national president Domingo “Egon” Cayosa said in a statement on Friday.
The motion withdrawing the petition was filed 4:20 pm or just before the SC docket closed on Friday.
Cayosa said the decision to withdraw was “with due regard to the plight and position of the fishermen-petitioners.”
Solicitor General Jose Calida was able to put a giant block to the petition’s momentum when he presented during the last day of oral arguments affidavits of 19 out of 40 fishermen disowning the case.
Calida had claimed the fishermen approached the Philippine Navy to disown the petition. IBP’s collaborating counsel Chel Diokno slammed as unethical the government’s action of talking to their clients without their knowledge.
The petition would have urged the Supreme Court to assess whether environmental and maritime laws were being enforced in the West Philippine Sea, in light of China’s increasing aggression in the waters.
Calida had insisted the Supreme Court could not interfere with Duterte’s foreign policy.
The petition also came at a time when a Chinese vessel rammed and sunk a Filipino boat in the Reed Bank where Philippines enjoys exclusive rights. – Rappler.com