Another defective pandemic suit fails, this time vs mega vax site

Because of deficiency, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition for the writ of Kalikasan that sought to block the construction of a mega vaccination site on reclaimed land owned by the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) in Parañaque City.

The petition was filed by former Boac, Marinduque mayor Pedrito Nepomuceno, who also recently lost a petition seeking to stop the Philippine government’s use of the Sinovac vaccine. 

“Nepomuceno's petition suffered from formal defects. Foremost, the petition was unsigned, unverified and unaccompanied by a certification of non-forum shopping. Worse, the petition lacks proof of service to the adverse parties, and payment for Sheriffs Trust Fund,” said the Supreme Court in a resolution dated June 15, but released only recently.

There is a tussle over the construction of the site, as the NPF management insists the site "has a thriving urban forest that hosts a variety of urban wildlife and is the last remaining grassland in the reclaimed area of Parañaque," and therefore must be protected.

Writ of kalikasan

Nepomuceno sought a writ of kalikasan and writ of continuing mandamus, which, if it succeeded, would have compelled the government to protect the land for ecological reasons. This is the same relief given to Manila Bay.

Nepomuceno alleged that the vaccination center did not undergo proper environmental impact analysis and had no environmental compliance certificate, but he based his allegations on news articles, which the Court ruled as hearsay.

For a mandamus petition to succeed, there must be a clear showing that the government failed to perform a duty. The petition did not cite environmental laws which were violated, said the Court. 

“Nepomuceno's invocation of the State's responsibilities to protect and advance the people's right to a  balanced and healthful ecology and preserve and protect the environment, without identifying the respondents' unlawful act or omission, is insufficient to justify the issuance of the writs prayed for,” said the Court.

This follows the streak of lost petitions related to the pandemic, which were dismissed on procedural grounds as the Supreme Court gets more strict on cases filed before them.

“Unverified news articles on the internet are hearsay evidence, twice removed, and are thus without any probative value. All told, the petition is  insufficient both in form and substance. For these reasons, the petition is dismissed,” said the Court. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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