Court of Appeals allows Taguig contractor to use Laguna Lake property
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - January 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The solid waste contractor of the Taguig City government may now continue to use a property beside Laguna de Bay on C-6 Road for its operations.

IPM Construction and Development Corp., the garbage-hauling firm tapped by the local government, has won its case before the Court of Appeals (CA) against the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) involving the 22-hectare property.

In a 19-page decision promulgated on Jan. 15, the CA’s former special 13th division granted the petition of IPM and voided the cease and desist order (CDO) issued by LLDA in June last year that indefinitely stopped the operations of the company due to its alleged illegal reclamation and dumping activities in Laguna de Bay.

It made permanent the writ of mandatory and prohibitory injunction issued by the CA to stop the enforcement of the CDO in August last year.

The CA ruled that the LLDA committed grave abuse of discretion in padlocking the IPM facility. 

It held that the CDO violated the IPM’s right to use the property as it also stopped the other operations of the firm in the facility that were not found to be illegal.

“IPM was not using the entire area for the sole purpose of managing and maintaining a Materials Recovery Facility for the local government of Taguig. The lot also served as an office and a staging and storage area for IPM. If it were true that the CDO is aimed only at putting a stop to the illegal activities therein, it should not have ordered the complete stoppage of IPM’s operations and the closure of the entire establishment,” read the ruling penned by Associate Justice Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla.

The CA said under LLDA Resolution Number 41, series of 1997, LLDA could resort to closing down the IPM property only for nonpayment of a fine imposed for failure to abate pollution. No such fine was actually imposed in IPM’s case.

It also questioned the indefinite period of the CDO’s effectivity for being contrary to LLDA Resolution Number 192, which provided for  such an order to remain in force only until the company prevented or abated pollution.

Lastly, the CA rejected LLDA’s argument that only the Supreme Court can issue an injunction against lawful actions of government agencies that enforce environmental laws.

The CA said the LLDA’s actions involved excessive exercise of authority and were not valid administrative acts involving facts or exercise of discretion on technical matters.

Associate Justices Victoria Isabel Paredes and Germano Francisco Legaspi concurred in this ruling.

COURT OF APPEALS LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
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