SC silences writ of kalikasan parties

July 16, 2019

THE Supreme Court yesterday issued a gag order prohibiting parties in the writ of kalikasan petition compelling the government to protect the West Philippine Sea from further commenting on the merits and details of the case.

Covered by the gag order were counsels of petitioner-fishemen, specifically defeated senatorial candidate Chel Diokno and Andres Palacios from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and Solicitor General Jose Calida for the government.

The SC issued the order following public statements made by both camps after fishermen from Palawan and Zambales disowned the petition.

During oral arguments last July 9, Calida submitted to the SC affidavits of fishermen saying they were unaware of the IBP’s filing of the kalikasan petition on their behalf. Some of them even claimed they were made to sign a blank document by the IBP.

Calida had announced to the media that counsels of petitioners agreed to the dismissal of the case during a closed-door conference with the justices.

Last Monday, the solicitor general also suggested in a TV interview that the counsels of petitioners could face disbarment cases for filing the petition without the consent of the fishermen.

Diokno, for his part, accused the government of having a hand in the withdrawal of the petition by the fishermen and violating legal ethics by talking to their clients.