SC junks plea vs establishment of COVID-19 vaccination site on Nayong Pilipino urban forest
Photo shows urban forest on Nayong Pilipino property.
Nayong Pilipino

SC junks plea vs establishment of COVID-19 vaccination site on Nayong Pilipino urban forest

(Philstar.com) - July 22, 2021 - 6:16pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has dismissed the petition challenging the establishment of a temporary mega vaccination center on Nayong Pilipino Foundation's urban forest park due to insufficiency of form and substance.

In a four-page SC en banc notice, the high court dismissed the petition for Writ of Kalikasan and Continuing Mandamus against the government’s coronavirus task force filed by former Boac, Marinduque Mayor Pedrito Nepomuceno.

“The petition is dismissed for insufficiency in form and substance,” the order signed by Clerk of Court Marife Lomibao-Cuevas read.

The writ of kalikasan a remedy formulated by the court to better protect the rights of the citizens to a balanced and healthful ecology as enshrined in the Constitution.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in April 2021 approved the construction of a massive COVID-19 vaccination center on the Nayong Pilipino Foundation property, amid concerns about damage on the existing ecosystem in the area.

The site of the planned vaccination center serves as a bird flyway network. It is also near the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area, a protected area and a wetland site of international importance.

Nepomuceno told the SC that the establishment of the vaccination site will destroy the environment and violated environmental laws.

No certification, unsigned

The SC noted that petition for the issuance of Writs of Kalikasan and Continuing Mandamus must be verified and accompanied with certification of non-forum shopping.

“Here, Nepomuceno’s petition suffered from formal defects. Foremost, the petition was unsigned, unverified and unaccompanied by certification of non-forum shopping,” the notice read.

“Worse, the petition lacks proof of service to the adverse parties, and payment for Sheriff’s Trust Fund,” it added.

The SC also said the petition also failed to identify environmental laws violated or to be violated and environmental damage of “such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health and property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces,” facts that must be established for the issuance of a Writ of Kalikasan.

The court also pointed out that the petition failed to demonstrate the public officer’s unlawful neglect to perform his duty, among the proofs for the issuance of the Writ of Continuing Mandamus.

The petition also was not supported by material evidence other than online articles on the proposed vaccination center, which are deemed hearsay evidence.

“Nepumoceno’s invocation of the State’s responsibilities to protect and advance the people’s right to a balanced and healthful ecology and preserve and protect the environment, without identifying the respondents’ unlawful act or omission, is insufficient to justify the issuance of the writs prayed for,” the SC also said. — Kristine Joy Patag with reports from Gaea Katreena Cabico

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