Carpio won’t inhibit in writ case involving WPS

Carpio won’t inhibit in writ case involving WPS

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) – June 6, 2019 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Known as a vocal critic of China’s provocations in the South China Sea, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio took part on Tuesday in the Supreme Court (SC)’s deliberations on the writ of kalikasan petition filed by Palawan and Zambales fishermen.

The fishermen filed the petition last April 16 to compel the government to protect, preserve and rehabilitate Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, Ayungin Shoal and Panganiban Reef in the face of the Chinese’s environmentally destructive activities, including massive land reclamation.

The senior magistrate saw no reason to inhibit from this particular case as he concurred with the decision of fellow justices to require the government to answer the petition and set the case for oral arguments, according to insiders.

While Carpio has actively campaigned against China’s incursions in Philippine waters, he has not made any public statement on the arguments raised in the kalikasan petition.

The SC has set for June 25 the oral arguments on this case.

The SC has ordered the government to answer the petition filed by the group led by Monico Abogado.

Petitioners sought relief from the SC against what they called “neglect of performance of the duties of the government in violation of environmental laws, resulting in environmental destruction of damage in the shoals.”

They specifically accused respondents – Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police and Department of Justice – of “failure to perform their duties as mandated in the above-mentioned environmental laws and regulations.”

They said the government specifically failed to act on activities of Chinese fishermen in the areas, which violate the country’s environmental laws.

Petitioners also cited the island-building activities in Panganiban Reef as found by the PCA in its ruling.

The group explained that Ayungin Shoal and Panganiban Reef are part of the exclusive economic zone over which the country has jurisdiction, as declared by the 2016 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

They said Panatag Shoal, on the other hand, is part of the EEZ under Republic Act 9522 or the Philippine Baselines Law.

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