Barely minutes before the SC closed office for the day, the IBP submitted a motion of manifestation to withdraw the petition.
IBP withdraws writ of kalikasan petition
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - July 20, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With the fishermen-complainants backing out of the case, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) yesterday withdrew its petition from the Supreme Court (SC) seeking a writ of kalikasan to require the Duterte administration to protect the West Philippine Sea.

Barely minutes before the SC closed office for the day, the IBP submitted a motion of manifestation to withdraw the petition.

“The IBP Board of Governors adopted a resolution to
 request this Honorable Court to allow IBP to withdraw the instant petition and to withdraw as counsel for the petitioners who cannot be contacted,” the IBP said in its motion.

The IBP asked the high court to grant the motion to withdraw the petition they filed along with other petitioners Monico Abogado, Roberto Asiado, Nonelon Balbontin, Randy Dacumos, Reny Magbanua and Wilfredo Labandelo. 

The IBP lawyers also filed a motion to withdraw on behalf of their 20 other fishermen clients.

On July 12, the IBP filed a motion for extension and asked the high court to give them more time to confer with their clients.

The SC granted its request and gave them until July 19 to comply with its earlier order for both parties, the IBP and the government officials represented by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), to inform the SC on what would be their next move.

During the extended time given to them by the SC, the IBP coordinated with its chapters in Palawan and Zambales to meet with their clients. 

The IBP Palawan chapter met with four fisherfolk petitioners who informed them that “they no longer wish to pursue the case.”

While it was difficult to personally meet with six of the petitioners who were located in the remote Pag-asa Island, they were able to relay their intention that they no longer wanted to pursue the case. 

Six other fisherfolk petitioners were in Puerto Princesa and could not return to Pag-asa Island due to bad weather.

As for the fisherfolk based in Zambales, the IBP said they had to cancel their July 13 scheduled meeting for safety reasons.

They were able to meet with one of the fishermen, Wilfredo Labandelo, who in a written statement also expressed his interest to withdraw the case. 

The IBP in its motion to withdraw also asked that the SC to grant the petitioners Motion to Expunge from the Records the respondents’ “Manifestation with Motion” filed last July 9 when Calida told the SC that 19 of the fishermen manifested they are withdrawing the plea.

They said the case was becoming a media spectacle instead of presenting the important issues concerning the environment in the West Philippine Sea.

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