The Akbayan party-list on Friday (Nov. 20) has expressed dismay over the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) to junk its bid to cite in contempt the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for dumping dolomite to create an artificial white beach along Manila Bay.
“The Supreme Court has taken, quite sadly, a hands-off approach on an issue of transcendental importance,” said Akbayan in a statement.
“By denying our motion to intervene in the 2008 Manila Bay environmental protection case, it failed to help the public determine the safeness and sustainability of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) dolomite sand dumping along the Manila Bay,” it added.
Akbayan said the SC “lost the opportunity to protect the rights of Filipinos to a balanced and healthful ecology.
In its motion, Akbayan asked the SC to cite in contempt the DENR for violating the high tribunal’s 2008 decision which imposed a continuing mandamus to the DENR and 12 other government agencies to ensure the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
Since it is not a party to the case, Akbayan sought permission to intervene in the case.
However, the SC last Nov. 17 denied Akbayan’s motion and explained “the case has long been concluded with finality” and that “the Court is limited only to ensuring the successful implementation of the mandated reliefs.”
“Even the high tribunal’s statement that it found no violation of its continuing Mandamus is discouraging,” Akbayan lamaneted.
It observed that the SC ruling “limited its findings to the reports submitted by the DENR on its specific directive to clean the waters of the bay and perform maintenance measures.”
“It failed to include in its assessment the DENR’s dumping of fake sand as a polluting act violative of its order,” Akbayan said.
Because of the SC’s ruling, Akbayan appealed to the original parties of the 2008 environmental case “to add their voices and take action on this matter even as we study our next legal steps to best respond to this development.”
Akbayan said it stands by “by the scientific evidence and expert opinions presented by marine scientists from the University of the Philippines (UP) and various highly-respected environmental groups.”
“The opinion of experts throughout the scientific community has repeatedly expressed the hazards, both in the short and long term, of the dolomite project,” it said.