MANILA, Philippines – After snubbing the sheriff twice, SM finally complied with the temporary environmental protection order issued by the environmental court of the Baguio regional trial court on Tuesday, April 10.
“An SMIC (SM Investments Corp) representative from Manila personally went to the (court) branch to accept the TEPO,” SM Baguio Pubic Relations manager Karen Nobres told Rappler.
“SM will comply. It will stop its earth-moving activities for 3 days.”
The TEPO will expire on Friday, April 13.
SM Baguio not under SMIC
However, Nobres was quick to clarify that SM Baguio did not receive the TEPO as it is under SM Prime Holdings and not SMIC.
SM Baguio twice refused to receive the copy of the order from Nestor Rimando, sheriff of the Baguio environment court, at 3:30 pm on April 10 and at 11:00 am the next day.
It maintained that the order was intended for SMIC which holds office in Metro Manila.
Who snubbed the sheriff?
“I am frustrated, but what can I do?” Sheriff Nestor Rimando told Rappler after his second failed attempt to serve the temporary environmental protection order.
At 11 am this morning, April 11, Rimando, escorted by policemen, went to the site where SM Baguio is continuously earthballing trees, to hand over a copy of the TEPO.
But the mall guards prevented them from entering the premises upon the advice of the mall’s management, Rimando said.
Rimando has already filed a report, saying he was able tender the order although defendant SMIC refused to receive it.
“Technically, I have served the temporary environmental protection order. It was a constructive service,” Rimando declared, saying he left the order near the entrance of the mall.
“SMIC and SM Baguio are one and the same,” asserted Christopher Donaal, one of the lawyers representing the protesters.
“There is no difference. It’s corporate fiction to make it appear that we are barking at the wrong tree. Corporations usually resort to it to avoid liability,” Donaal said.
Donaal argued that “there is a legal doctrine called piercing the veil of corporate fiction in which the court will go beyond corporate personality. The course of justice will go beyond the veil.”
The NUPL filed a complaint on Feb 23, 2012 on behalf of the Cordillera Global Network, Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Cordillera Indigenous Peoples Legal Center, Cordillera Ecological Pine Center, and other concerned Baguio citizens.
It also asked the environmental court for an injunction with prayer for TEPO, naming SMIC as one of the respondents. – Rappler.com