Writ of kalikasan filed vs FPIC, First Gen

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 15 2010 09:00 PM | Updated as of Nov 16 2010 05:28 AM

MANILA, Philippines - West Tower Condominium filed on Monday a petition for a Writ of Kalikasan on behalf of its unit owners and in representation of residents of Barangay Bangkal, Makati City versus First Philippine Industrial Corporation (FPIC) and First Gen Corporation and their respective Board of Directors and officers.

This petition is in connection with the petroleum leak seeping through West Tower's concrete basement and the rest of Bgy. Bangkal since July.

The leak was traced to FPIC's pipeline around 100 meters southeast of West Tower.

Seven kilometers of FPIC's 117-kilometer pipeline is located in Makati.

West Tower's petition claims "the health and environmental damage wrought by the petroleum leak in the pipeline of FPIC had done, and is continually doing, grave damage to public health and the environment".

"Unfortunately, petitioner has received nothing but half-hearted apologies and empty promises of recompense from FPIC," the petition stated.

The petition enjoined the High Court "to protect and advance their constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology and to ensure the effective enforcement of remedies and redress against respondents for violation of environmental laws".

FPIC apologizes for leak

The FPIC, on Monday, apologised to the public for the oil leak at the West Tower condominium which, it said, caused "great suffering, inconvenience and anxiety to many people."

FPIC Officer-in -Charge Anthony Mabasa told the Senate Committees on Environment and Health that the company has learned lessons from the incident.

"Regrettably, we did not extend any help until we were sure that the leak was from our pipeline. We should have been more compassionate, more caring, more sensitive," Mabasa said. "Sana po bigyan nyo kami ng inyong pag-unawa at pagkakataon na gawin ang nararapat."

Board of Directors of FPIC

FPIC Board of Directors as named in the writ of kalikasan are as follows:

Federico Lopez, Chairman and CEO
Oscar Lopez, Chairman Emeritus
Edgar Chua, Vice-chairman
Leonides Garde, President and COO

Elpidio Ibanez, Member
Peter Garrucho, Member
Augusto Lopez, Member
Arthur De Guia, Member
Dennis Javier, Member
Dennis Gamab, Member
Willie Sarmiento, Member

Ireneo Raule Jr. - SVP for Operations and Maintenance
Ana Maria del Rosario - VP Comptrollership  and Office of Strategy Management
Robert Vincent Ledesma - VP Commercial/Legal/Corporate Affairs
Perla Catahan - Treasurer
Eduardo Makalintal - Corporate Secretary
Eileen Pangalangan-Pardo - Assistant Corporate Secretary

Board of Directors of First Gen Corp

For First Gen Corp (also named in the petition):

Oscar Lopez, Chairman Emeritus
Elpidio Ibañez, Member
Peter Garrucho, Jr., Member
Federico Lopez - Chairman and CEO
Francis Giles Puno, President and COO

Richard Tantoco, Executive Vice-president
Eugenio Lopez III, Member
Tony Tan Caktiong, Independent Director
Cesar Consing, Independent Director
Ernesto Pantangco, Executive Vice-president

Jonathan Russel, Executive Vice-president
Nestor Vasay, SVP/Comptroller
Victor Emmanuel Santos Jr., SVP and Compliance Officer
Emmanuel Singson, SVP, Treasurer and Investor Relations Officer
Aloysius Santos, Vice-president

Daniel Valeriano Jr., Vice-president
Glenn Funk, Vice-president
Colin John Douglas Fleming, Vice-president
Vincent Villegas, Vice-president
Dennis Gonzales, Vice-president

Erwin Avante, Vice-president
Michael Christopher Young, Vice-president
Arman Lapus, Vice-president
Jorge Lucas, Vice-president
Rachel Hernandez, Corporate Secretary
Teodorico Delfin, Assistant Corporate Secretary

What the petition seeks

The petition also prays that a Cease and Desist Order be issued to FPIC and First Gen "to stop the operation of its pipeline until the whole 117 kilometers stretch is inspected and the integrity of the pipeline is reviewed through an independent and qualified third party comprehensive and enviromental safety audit".

"Should the audit warrant not only repairs but replacement of the entire 117-kilometer pipeline, FPIC and First Gen should be ordered to do so, and further, to rehabilitate and restore the environment  as may be found necessary,"  the petition stated.

The Writ is "a remedy available to a natural or juridical person, entity authorized by law, people’s organization, non-governmental organization, or any public interest group accredited by or registered with any government agency, on behalf of persons whose constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated, or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or private individual or entity, involving environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces."

Upon filing of the petition, the Court has 3 days to issue the Writ if it finds the petition sufficient in form and substance, otherwise, the petition is deemed dismissed, as earlier stated by Supreme Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez.

When the Court issues the Writ, it will also require respondents to file a verified return as well as include the issuance of a cease and desist order and other temporary reliefs effective until lifted. 

Reliefs under writ of kalikasan

The reliefs that may be granted under the writ are the following:

"(a)  Directing respondent to permanently cease and desist from committing acts or neglecting the performance of a duty in violation of environmental laws resulting in environmental destruction or damage;

(b) Directing the respondent public official, government agency, private person or entity to protect, preserve, rehabilitate or restore the environment;

(c) Directing the respondent public official, government agency, private person or entity to monitor strict compliance with the decision and orders of the court;

(d) Directing the respondent public official, government agency, or private person or entity to make periodic reports on the execution of the final judgment; and,

(e) Such other reliefs which relate to the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology or to the protection, preservation, rehabilitation or restoration of the environment, except the award of damages to individual petitioners."

Within fifteen (15) days from the date  of notice of the adverse judgment or denial of motion for reconsideration, any party may appeal to the Supreme Court under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The appeal may raise questions of fact. -- with a report from Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News