Lawyers to file contempt charges vs SM Baguio

'Paper victory'

Posting photos on Twitter, protesters claimed earthballing of trees continued despite the issuance of the TEPO.

"It defeats the purpose of TEPO which is a judicial remedy. The rules of court is there to facilitate justice and not to defeat the same," Daytec-Yangot lamented.

SM Baguio's refusal to receive the order of the court is "a very clear manifestation of a culture of impunity. They feel they are above the law," Daytec-Yangot said.

"It would be a paper victory if SM defied the order," Daytec-Yangot said.

"We feel angry at what SM is doing to Baguio. At the same time, the people are happy people. They are not giving up. Tonight, we will continue the vigil," she added.

The environmental case filed against SMIC is a first of its kind in Baguio under the new environmental rules of procedure which took effect on April 2010.

TEPO was introduced to facilitate a simplified, speedy, and inexpensive procedure, and enhance access to environmental justice.

Extend TEPO

NUPL is also planning to file with the environmental court a motion seeking to extend the TEPO on Friday,  April 13, when the TEPO is scheduled to expire.

"As an the alternative, it will also ask the court to immediately grant TEPO which was already heard in recent adversarial proceedings," Daytec-Yangot told Rappler.

This will keep TEPO in effect while the case is being heard.

The NUPL filed a complaint last February 23 on behalf of the Cordillera Global Network, Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Cordillera Indigenous Peoples Legal Center, Cordillera Ecological Pine Center and other concerned citizens of Baguio.

It also asked the environmental court for an injunction with prayer for TEPO, naming Environment Secretrary Ramon Paje, Director Juan Miguel T. Cuna of the Environmental Management Bureau, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singzon, and SM Investments Corp (SMIC) as respondents. -