CA nixes Villar plea vs Manila Bay reclamation
MANILA – The Court of Appeals (CA) has junked the petition for writ of kalikasan filed by Team PNoy senatorial bet Cynthia Villar which sought to stop the planned 635-hectare reclamation project in Manila Bay along the Bacoor-Las Piñas-Parañaque coastline.
In a 48-page decision penned by Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas, the appellate court’s 3rd Division denied the petition for “lack of merit” and being “premature.”
The appellate court pointed out that the petition failed to prove allegations of environmental damage.
“The Court finds neither legal nor factual bases with which to grant the privilege of the writ of kalikasan. Wherefore, the petition is denied for lack of merit.
“No credible, competent, and reliable evidence had been presented to support the allegations that the proposed coastal by project would cause environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the lives, health or properties of the residents of Paranaque and Las Pinas. These apprehensions had been disproved by objective, expert and scientific studies of reputable entities with vast international experience,” the decision read.
The appellate court also ruled that the petition “was not able to establish the causal link between the catastrophic environmntal damage feared and the proposed Las Pinas-Paranaque Coastal Bay project.”
“The credibility , reliability and objectivity of the scientific studies presented by respondent Alltech and the totality of the evidence presented leave very little occasion to ponder that the constitutional right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology hangs in the balance because of the reclamation project,” the decision read.
Named as respondents in the petition signed by 315,849 residents of Las Pinas ang Paranaque were the Public Reclamation Authority (PRA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), City Government of Las Piñas and Alltech Contractors Inc.
The petition argued that the assailed project exposed residents along the coastline to great risk of flooding, and would cause the inundation of numerous barangays in Bacoor, Las Pinas and Paranaque. Petitioners also feared that the project would cause damage on the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area.