SC permanently bans cutting of trees in Baguio City

Maris Federez   •   April 12, 2019   •   2251

Kennon Road in Baguio City

The Supreme Court has released its decision on Wednesday (April 10) to make permanent the temporary restraining order it issued on March 24, 2015 that restricted the cutting of trees along Luneta Hill for the expansion of a mall in the city.

“The permanent status of the temporary restraining order is without prejudice to the filing of an application of environmental compliance certificate in accordance with existing laws and regulations,” said SC Public Information Office Chief Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka.

The petitioners against the cutting of the trees in the city, however, were not satisfied with the Supreme Court’s decision, saying that the number of trees they were fighting for to save has now dwindled into half.

Glo Abaeo, former President of Cordillera Global Network said over a phone interview that it was a bittersweet victory for them, “because after 7 years ng ipinaglalaban namin, may magandang resulta pero ayun nga naputol na iyong karamihan ng kahoy doon. So from 182, na pinoprotesta namin noon I think 100 or more na yata ang naputol [because after 7 years that we have been fighting, we got good results, but still, many trees had been cut down. So from 182 that we are proresting (to be protected), I think 100 or more were cut down].”

Karlo Altomonte, Spokesperson of Save 182, on the other hand, said, “too late ang lumabas na desisyon. Pero napigilan sana natin yung panggagahasa sa kalikasan ng baguio kung umaksyion ang local government [the decision came too late. But we could have prevented the ravaging of the natural resources of Baguio (City) had the local government acted against it].”

In 2018, the Baguio City Local Government released the guidelines on issuing permits to business establishments about cutting trees.

The guidelines said exceptions on the ban to cut trees include trees that will put establishments and passers-by in danger, such as trees that have been rendered weak by infestation and trees that are already dead.  – Maris Federez (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

Malacañang keeps distance from SC decision lifting TRO on Mamasapano trial

Maris Federez   •   August 7, 2019

The Office of the President has distanced itself from the Supreme Court (SC) decision that lifted the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the hearing of the case against former president Benigno Aquino III on the Mamasapano encounter.

Read: SC lifts TRO on Mamasapano trial at Sandiganbayan

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo has refused to further comment on the issue as the palace would not want to be accused of meddling with the decision of the judiciary which is a co-equal branch of government.

“[W]e refuse to comment on the action undertaken by the Supreme Court, which belongs to a separate and independent branch of government from ours. We cannot and we do not intend to interfere with the functions of other branches which are distinct from the Executive,” Panelo said.

The palace, he added, would rather see the judicial process roll on its own accord.

“We will, as usual, let the law take its course,” Panelo said. (with details from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

Justice Zalameda takes oath as new SC magistrate

Maris Federez   •   August 6, 2019

New SC Justice Takes Oath. Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Rodil V. Zalameda takes his oath as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (SC) before Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, while SC Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio looks on, at the SC En Banc Session Hall on August 6, 2019. (Caption by Jay B. Rempillo, Photo by Francisco S. Gutierrez/Supreme Court Website)

Court of Appeals (CA) justice Rodil Zalameda has taken his oath as the new member of the Supreme Court (SC) magistrates.

Zalameda replaced the newly-retired Justice Mariano del Castillo.

He was chosen by President Rodrigo Duterte over 5 other nominees, including Court Administrator Midas Marquez and CA Justice Japar Dimaampao.

He was appointed Court of Appeals associate justice in September 2008 and served as city prosecutor in Mandaluyong City prior to that.

Zalameda obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of the East and earned his law degree in 1987 at the Ateneo Law School.

He passed the bar exams in 1988. (with details from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

MMDA awaits SC decision on fate of provincial bus ban

Maris Federez   •   May 31, 2019

File photo: MMDA personnel accost provincial buses traversing Edsa. (Photo courtesy of MMDA)

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced on Wednesday that it leaves the fate of the proposed provincial bus ban up to the Supreme Court (SC).

MMDA traffic chief Bong Nebrija said in an interview that “it will depend on the order of the Court if they will tell us to scrap the policy or to hold its implementation.”

He added that they are just waiting for the court order.

Nebrija made the statement after several lawmakers filed separate petitions before the SC to stop the implementation of MMDA Regulation No. 19-002.

The order seeks to ban all provincial buses from plying along Edsa, which one of the petitioners, Albay Representative Joey Salceda, believes as “oppressive and unfair.”

Read: Salceda urges SC to halt provincial bus ban on EDSA

Nebrija further said that while there is still no court order, the MMDA will still push through with its preparations and their plans for the bus terminal closure, which the agency targets to implement in June.

“We’ll wait kung go or no go but we are still preparing, we’re still pushing with the plan. In the absence of a court order, we will push through with it,” he added.

The MMDA official believes that the impending implementation of the provincial bus ban on Edsa remains as one of the best alternatives to decongest Metro Manila roads.

Read: MMDA: Edsa bus ban one of the best options in decongesting Metro Manila

Nebrija, however, said that they still haven’t come up with a timeline from preparations to implementation as they are still yet to receive the policy guidelines from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The MMDA had implemented a dry run of the bus ban in April but suspended it in less than a month.

Read: Provincial bus ban dry run suspended—MMDA

/mbmf

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